Blessing of the i-phones?
Well I have only recently got one but they are definitely a modern fixture for many people. Actually mine is a Samsung but that does not really matter. For many people smartphones are a key part of life – an absolutely vital tool of communication, of information, of self-expression, of security, of navigation, of time-management. The list could certainly go on. For those who do not possess one this all seems rather peculiar – even a little bit morally suspect. Isn’t this all a bit over-the-top, simply following the crowd, a destruction of much of value?
When I take the funeral of a really old person I sometimes reflect on how much the world has changed in their life-time. They probably grew up in a world where most people did not have cars, telephones, televisions or refrigerators. By comparison when I was young those things were already common. Certainly our use of them has grown enormously but they were there when I was young. In that sense the world has not changed as much in my life-time as in the life-time of those of previous generations. The exception to this is the world of information technology where the change has been enormous. I sometimes reflect that when I started my ministry as a curate in 1984 I simply had a landline phone – no mobile, no answering machine, no email, no computer.
In the end technology is a tool and like all tools it can be used badly or well, to do harm or to do good. Perhaps there are two great pitfalls. Firstly its lack of face-to-face contact or even voice-to-voice contact. We know that when we talk to someone we pick up a lot of what they are saying by their stance, their tone of voice, how far they choose to stand away from us, whether they are speaking loudly or quietly. All of this is missing when we use text or email. The second pitfall is the immediacy of modern technology. We can text or email so quickly that we often send off our offering without having given ourselves time to reflect on what we are saying.
So perhaps we should have blessing of i-phone services (Samsungs also welcome). Services in which we ask that these devices may be used as tools to express and build up love and care. And that we may be protected from their capacity to inflict hurt and foster disharmony. What do you think? (answers by Facebook message please)