I’m a talk radio junkie. No, I don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Glen Beck, or (Lord, help me) Howard Stern. Instead, I listen to interesting and informative programs on local public radio stations, programs with eclectic topics like home improvement, gardening, technology and photography.
I was listening to a show about vintage photographs when a listener called in with a keen observation. She said that until recently people took photographs to preserve the past, but today photos are often taken to share what is happening in the moment and then are quickly discarded.
Apps, like Instagram, allow users to share in real time what they are up to—instantly Frank tweets a pic. of the alpaca burger he is about to eat in a diner in Texas. Louise posts on Facebook a short video of her in-laws dancing the Funky Chicken at Benny’s bar mitzvah party. Helen hands her smart phone to her stylist and asks him to take a pic. of the haircut she just got at the salon in New York so she can send it to her daughter in Cincinnati—Later, Frank, Louise and Helen will delete those photos to make room for more.
The fast-paced world of technology affects how we share and process information. In rapid succession we view one snapshot and then the next without taking time to ponder the details—and so much is lost in those details. Maybe you didn’t notice the wedding ring missing on Frank’s left hand. (He had worn it for six years after Pamela died in that tragic accident. Could he finally be moving on?) In the background of Louise’s video, if you took your eyes off the couple dancing the Funky Chicken you might have seen Benny kissing a girl for the very first time. And if you looked closely at Helen’s smart phone picture, you would observe a homeless woman with dirty unkempt hair gazing through the salon window.
Even God’s Word, the bible, is sometimes reduced to short snapshots of scripture verses tweeted into cyberspace and posted on Facebook. Of course, there is nothing wrong with sharing God’s Word through today’s technological gadgets. The problem comes when “instant and discarded” replaces reading the bible and soaking up its details. You don’t know what God has hidden in those details just for you. You could be missing something big, something life changing.
How do you share and process God’s Word? Do you hide it in your heart and share and treasure it like you would an old family photo (Psalm 119:11), or like it says in Ecclesiastes 1:8, do words come again and again. . . but you never hear enough, nor can you ever really see all that you want to see? It’s something to think about this week when you email and use social media.
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