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A better world through better relationships
January 11, 2010
by Pastor Matthew Sipe, Delano United Methodist Church

Technology is a community-shaping device that continues to grow more and more each year.

Most people now communicate via e-mail or cell phone. Facebook is the new social hangout. Blogging lets everyone share whatever sort of tripe they want. And every day, I get at least one tweet from the City of Delano on my cell phone.

Yes, who would have realized 10 years ago that the City of Delano, and many of its residents, would be using Twitter, which started in 2006. It’s been an interesting decade for Americans.

The past 10 years have continued to see technology expand at an exponential rate. And in that time we have experienced things like Hurricane Katrina, the Indian Ocean tsunami, genocide in Darfur, Virginia Tech shootings, and 9/11. We continue to experience at least two wars and a huge financial crisis. All of these events have shaped who we are as Americans, but the technologies we use seems to have a greater impact on the shape of our lives.

I have started to hear people wonder what we would have done before cell phones, the Internet, computers, GPS, etc. There are two ways to look at this:

1. We can cry out how bad society is becoming because technology is ruining our lives, or

2. We can embrace changes and work technology into our lives so that we can better connect ourselves and build upon relationships.

I fall into the second camp – maybe because I’m an optimist. I do understand that some believe that ever-expanding growth and increasing technology will only lead us down the wrong path. That’s easy to say, but it’s much harder to believe that when you are the one who receives the new pacemaker that now saves your life every time your heart stops beating, or when you are able to make that cell phone call when your car breaks down in sub-zero temperatures.

Throughout time, people have chosen to do good or to do evil. Just look at the two brothers at the beginning of the Bible. The story of Cain and Abel in Genesis, chapter 4, shows how people have the option to follow God’s commands, or assert their will against what God wants. Our ability to choose good over evil is precisely the reason that Christians study and follow Jesus to help us all discover what God intends for good.

The technologies of this world can either hurt relationships, or help to build new ones. I hope you will choose to seek authentic ways to build relationships with those you love in this next decade (either with or without technology). It will be surprising to see what the next 10 years will bring.

What will the world look like in 2020? Hopefully, it will be a better place.