Keeping up with the Nanobytes

I’ve been having some difficulty in the last few weeks, trying to drag myself (albeit kicking and screaming), into the technological realities of the 21st Century.

Now, there was a time when I was on the cutting edge of technology. I worked for IBM and was responsible for teaching nervous secretaries how to use the “new” personal computers in their workplace. I calmed their fears, showed them how easy it all was, and watched as their confidence grew. It was a heady time as newer and newer technological advances appeared in my workplace, and I loved it all.

Over the years, I kept up, even though I no longer worked in a technology based environment. I bought my first personal computer (with a heart-stopping 64K of memory), in 1980. It was love at first sight. From there, I steadily advanced, finding faster and better computers, learning exciting programs, trying new systems, and again, showing my luddite friends how easy it all was.

Then, somewhere in the early years of this century, I fell behind. I’m not sure how. It just happened. Perhaps it was because I retired and no longer needed to be “in touch” as much as I once was. I bought a simple cell phone and didn’t move on to the smart phones that everyone has now. I didn’t tweet. I didn’t skype. I didn’t text. Without my realizing it, I was no longer in the technological loop.

So, I’m trying to catch up, but it’s a challenge. However, I will persevere, and if all else fails, take one of those courses offered for technologically-challenged adults – the same courses that I once used to teach.

As I struggle on, I think the same thing happens in our spiritual lives. At first, it’s all glowing and exciting. We throw ourselves in full-heartedly, reading every book we can find that gives us new insights; we go on retreats; we take courses. We continually “upgrade” our spiritual skills. And then one day, we become complacent. And slowly, we fall behind…dragging ourselves along on our well-worn, beaten path, wondering why we no longer feel the thrill and excitement of our life in Christ. In other words, we get stuck in a rut.

I think spiritual formation is a decision that we have to make again and again. Rather than settling for the complacency of our familiar rut and “the way we’ve always done it”, we need to be willing to step out in faith and seek new pathways that lead us to a broader vista and a wider view.


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