("How e-mail works," courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
2 Corinthians 5:17-21:
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I read this recent post by my blogging friend Ann in Daily Episcopalian and it certainly made me give pause, the idea that the days of e-mail possibly being numbered. Oh, I don't disbelieve it. I remember the time I first recognized that my wonderful stacks of record albums were going to be useless. Oddly, I kept them long after I no longer had a turntable, then finally parted with them when I felt I had enough of a CD collection that I had the bulk of my album collection I cared to keep. I recently got rid of all my CD's, too--same story. I only felt comfortable going digital with all my music when I had enough of my collection digitally available.
Those of us who fancy ourselves as "techier than most baby boomers" may someday be faced with the real possibility that all we have stored on hard drives, as technology continues to chug along, will not "make the cut." Some day I'll have to make a decision on what I'll keep and what I'll let go...again.
Where we seem to be moving in the electronic communications world is a place where real time rules, via social networking and messaging. "Saving what we said" will not automatically occur. "Instant discussion" will become an expectation, if it hasn't already. I am unusual in that I don't always immediately answer an e-mail. Sometimes I want to think it over before I reply.
I have read reams and reams of things about how all our various new communications technologies intersect with the church--and quite honestly, too much of it is of the "Chicken Little" variety. Oh, oh, the sky is falling. The sky's always falling. But it still seems we have plenty sky left.
I really appreciated Ann's candor in the article, where she speaks of both the enjoyment she gets at being a "techie grandmother" and her unease of her prospects of keeping up. I get parts of that. I am a person who is always slow to embrace the new--I have to go through my obligatory period of scoffing first--but when I do, I run off the dock and cannonball right in, sometimes finding myself over my head very quickly. Like our friend the disciple Peter, I jump out of the boat with a "Hey, y'all, watch this!" and do okay until the winds pick up, then find myself in need of a bit of saving. But I almost always come out of the water wiser and ready for more. I suppose if I have a fear of the rise of the new, it's that one day I will actually drown, but I haven't yet, so I have to trust that.
But here's my testimony to all of this, despite the abundance of "Chicken Little" stories--I truly feel that my involvement in the Digital Age has enhanced my life as a Christian, and made me a better person. Oh, not that I haven't made some whopping mistakes--I have fallen victim to helping things go viral that shouldn't a few times, and I have learned the hard way that e-mail is for disseminating, and only judiciously for seriously discussing, and that face to face is always the gold standard. But I have also learned to truly be more hospitable and social through social networking, and I have been able to provide and receive many kindnesses via these types of media, and I am convinced it's the biggest mission field we've ever seen. In a world where more people are of the "no religion" persuasion than ever, it's a wonderful place to simply live the Gospel rather than tout it. Social media has become a place where I've been unafraid to step into my own priesthood as one of the baptized believers, and allow people to be gathered with me and provide a safe place of hospitality.
Yeah, I get a little afraid of the new same as everyone else--but I also know if I allow it in, I will continue to be made a new creature in Christ. What's not to like?