Digital Disconnection in the Spiritual World


There are two contradicting experiences which made me to write this blog. Both happened in the seminaries, which I am closely connected. First one happened while attending a chapel service where the preacher asked every one to take their smart phone and log-on to their twitter account and engage in tweeting while the preacher was delivering the sermon on the college twitter platform. The college tweet account was open live for the listeners of the sermon. There was some new insight and new perspective based on the scripture was brought to the audience.

The second experience happened recently (Aug-2015) while I visited one of the previous seminaries I studied in India. I was talking with one of the students. He mentioned it to me that he is privileged to use the laptop in the library for few hours as a masters student. I asked him why? He said one of those students watched a movie while he was in the hostel room and the institution took a corporate decision (punishment) to restrict every student from using the smart phone or personal computers, while they are admitted as students in the seminary.  Watching the movie considered to be a sinful act in the land of Bollywood. This is four to five years of disconnection from the external world. Keeping also in mind that there is no Television room to watch the live news. The only connection to the external world is the daily newspaper. 

Todays medium of communication is not same like how the heralds who carries or proclaims important message in the first century context beating the drum and traveling in a horse. When the mobile and technological revolution was sweeping the Christian world I have seen different sign board in the church bulletin and on the door entrance “Please switch off your cell phone” but today I rarely see those sign boards.

I was wondering what kind of training and what kind of influence we can create being disconnected from this world.  We are called by God to be the salt and light of the world. Disconnecting and opposing from the digital media world is like standing against gravity force. What kind of knowledge the seminarians are having by reading outdated written books. The “death of an author” concept is relevant at this post modern context.

According to the latest research knowledge is doubling every 12 months and soon to be every 12 hours. Until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century and today different type of knowledge has different growth rates. Nanotechnology is doubling every two years, clinical knowledge every 18 months and average human knowledge is doubling every 12 or 13months. This simply means you are outdated every 12 to 13 month.  

Technology and internet is not a luxury, it is the basic human right. During this knowledge-based economy, restricting from information is restricting from basic human rights. I think and I relate this with where the upper class (Brahmins) restricted the Dalits (the lower caste) not to read the Vedas, in case if they do it, the lead (melted iron) will be poured into the ears of those who listen to Vedas. Listening the Vedas is considered equivalent to acquiring knowledge in the ancient Indian context. Knowledge is power, power provides information; information leads to education, education breeds wisdom; wisdom is liberating. 

Bible is full of war and God of the O.T. helps people of Israel in war to take possession of the land during their journey. Journey of the Israelites in the Old Testament is the shadow for the New Testament Christians. Take possession of the territory God has given you. David did not sit back and relax and took a break while the enemies came to take his sheep. Samson became a hero when he protected the possession of Israelites from the Philistines. Daniel became a prominent figure by acquiring the wisdom to interpret the secrets. Paul was able to be a greatest missionary to the unreached people groups and a second founder of Christianity because he was able to identify with all things to all human beings. In our spiritual journey we are invited by God to create cultural influences and it is not possible through disconnection but through influences.

I often say in my conversation that “ignorance is the not the basis of our spirituality.” I am a follower of Christ and a believer in Christianity not because it is some kind of restricted ideology, never evaluated based on the scientific advancement and knowledge. 

Invite your comments and feed backs.

Thanks

2015@Binu Peniel

Dr. Binu Peniel

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