Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Technology and the Presence of God

Yesterday, I reviewed Gregory Boyd's Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now. As I said in it, I particularly love the practice of the presence of God. I find focusing on the present very meaningful and important both psychologically and spiritually.

Traditionally, this spiritual discipline has not received a lot of attention. Perhaps that is because it is so simple (yet so complex). Maybe it's because in its simplicity and incarnational approach, it's not always explicitly "spiritual." And people like feeling "spiritual."

However, I also wonder if it has to do with a societal shift. In another book I'm reading on Celtic spirituality, the author noted that people's activities were often mundane, repetitive, and boring. They livened the activities up by creating prayers and praise songs to go along with the daily activities. In many ways, this is a perfect example of living in the present and seeing God's presence in all we do.

With technology, many of these mundane, repetitive tasks have become automated and literally mechanical. This is a good thing. We have been able to achieve so many wonderful things in the world because of these advances. However, with the advances, we are now free to focus our energies on more engaging tasks. These tasks are less boring and require us to truly focus on them. That makes focusing on something else (namely God) more difficult. It's easier to say a rhythmic prayer while churning butter, doing laundry, or cooking a meal than it is writing a paper, doing therapy, teaching a class, running meetings, etc.

Could this be part of the reason that (stereotypically) blue-collar workers can often have more vibrant spiritual lives than white-collar workers? White-collar jobs often feel like they can do more good for the world and more ministry-related than many blue-collar jobs (again a generalization and stereotype that could be the topic of an entire other post). However, these ministry-related jobs may be the things that are removing us from God more than anything else because they distract us.

We are often doing so much for God, but doing it without God by our sides...

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