The higher aims of “technological progress” are money and ease. And this exalted greed for money and ease is disguised and justified by an obscure, cultish faith in “the future.” We do as we do, we say, “for the sake of the future” or “to make a better future for our children.” How we can hope to make a good future by doing badly in the present, we do not say.
~The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry
Once again, Wendell Berry puts a fine point on his pen (since he steadfastly refuses to use a computer).
Berry is no Luddite, but he is a technological skeptic, a critic of the unrestrained progress that may, in fact, be cultural suicide. His essays about the value of community and the wholeness that comes from our heart relationships are inspiring. Sadly, they aren’t often put into practice where they should be most welcome, in the church.
Though there is little we can do stand against the tide of technology, we can position ourselves to limit its use when it threatens community and relationships. Making a future for our children is not so much economic but social; less technological, more relational . To give our children technology is to give them diversion and amusement. To give them a safe and loving community is to give them hope.
Jesus has invited us into community. We are called “the body of Christ,” which Paul, the Apostle, says makes us members one of another. It is in such communities that we can intentionally respond to Christ’s commandment to love one another and practice the enduring patience that love requires. If we fail to create places where we work with and through relationship, we are not, as Berry remonstrates, “doing well in the present.”
In my recent encounter with the concept of membership, I was reminded of how important membership is, as well as the hard truth that there are no shortcuts to it. We may create programs intended to add value to membership. We may make efficient use of technology to communicate and keep track of one another, but if we don’t go deeper than Sunday morning acquaintance, we are not creating a future that matters.