I love gadgets. Always have. On hand, I typically have one of the newest computers from Apple, an iPad, and an iPhone, and a number of other cool tools: a Dot Grid journal, the perfect pen, the best mouse, a good flashlight, a nice bag to carry them all in. The design of all this is to make my work seamless and effective as possible. I have many ideas, and a lot to get done. This requires discipline, and the right tools. And this is the way God intended it.
In the Christian world, there seems to be a general air of suspicion and lament at technology, that somehow technology itself is a disruption to our lives, causing distraction, bringing temptation, a difficulty to be endured. In fact, in the middle of writing this post, Desiring God published a blog post warning of being over-fascinated with newness, a good warning, one which we should heed.
However, I take a default positive view of technology. Technology is a gift to us from God, through His human agents who, believer or not, produce wonderful works and tools that make us more effective in our work on this Earth. That work being typified in the “first Great Commission” as “subduing it and filling it”, think gardening as a metaphor, the ordering of chaos, causing things around you to grow and thrive, writ large and in many arenas. This is evidence of God’s providence, care, creativity, and common grace toward all mankind.
We ought to rejoice when the new iPhone is announced, or when John Deere produces the next generation of tractor, or when Cutco brings us razor sharp kitchen knives, or when Dyson produces gorgeous and useful vacuum cleaners, or when Audi crafts beautiful vehicles or when Facebook created an amazing service that allows you to connect with long-lost friends and distant relatives and stay up-to-date with the major happenings of their lives (more on this in an upcoming post).
Conversely we should mourn a bit when a company, driven solely by the bottom line cranks out blatant low-quality knock offs of these things: tools that break easily, interfaces that cause confusion rather than assist effortless usage, blades that dull quickly, pens that don’t let ink flow smoothly and evenly.
Technology, like money, is morally neutral. Is it possible to idolize it? Yes. Is it possible to be distracted from our God-given tasks by them? Absolutely. Is there a Righteous way to marvel at the iPhone 5 and desire to own one? YES!
I suggest you take a default positive view of technology, see it as a gift from God, for the purpose of effectively carrying out your calling on the planet. If an iPad will not help you toward this end, do not buy one. But if it might, I suggest you experiment. It may just be the missing piece in a killer work flow that will unlock a tidal wave of effectiveness in God-glorifying labor.