A friend of mine sent me a link to a story called “Amish Hackers”. Its a pretty long article, so be sure you have some time to get through it. Anyway, its a discussion of the complex relationship that Amish people have with technology. Its a fascinating read, especially if you have ever lived in Amish areas or near other groups similar to the Amish.
One paragraph specifically stood out to me…
One Amish-man told me that the problem with phones, pagers, and PDAs (yes he knew about them) was that “you got messages rather than conversations.” That’s about as an accurate summation of our times as any.
What a brilliant statement on our times! While I am a twitterer, facebook status updater, and TXTer, I do recognize that these are often not conversations. They are simply statements / messages from one to another or one to many. That being said, I have also had many interactions via TXT with friends that are essentially conversations as it has involved 15-20 or more TXTs back and forth.
Ultimately, the discussion in the above article and in our general lives and interactions with the changes in the world around us go back to being sure we reflect upon how these forms of communication are changing the way that we interact with each other. Are we using them to simply isolate ourselves from one another or are we using them to find ways to increase our connections to deepen the conversation and so forth?
As the church of Jesus Christ moves into this new era of communications, what is our impetus behind using new forms of media and connection? Its it because it is the coolest thing or because it is another tool for us to help connect fellow travelers on the journey and to invite others to come along? Are they invitations to conversation or just another of the many messages that bombard us?