Today is a day of extreme opposites. The long-awaited iPhone launches to incredible hype. People are waiting in lines (some have been camping for 4 days now) simply to have their long-awaited hopes realized for the latest technology solution for our lives. The hope and hype for the iPhone crystalizes the misplaced hope our culture clings to for the latest technological advancement to deliver help to our lives in somehow significant or lasting ways.
Yet on this very same day we have news articles that ought to remind us that the greatest need in our culture can’t even be touched by the latest, coolest phone or gadget. Just consider the shocking examples of the depravity of man in the news this very day:
Police in London’s bustling nightclub and theater district on Friday defused a bomb that could have killed hundreds after an ambulance crew spotted smoke coming from a Mercedes filled with a lethal mix of gasoline, propane and nails, authorities said. The bomb near Piccadilly Circus was powerful enough to have caused “significant injury or loss of life”— possibly killing hundreds, British anti-terror police chief Peter Clarke said. (Link)
And then there’s this one:
One of four people arrested on suspicion of branding a woman’s face with the word “snitch” said Thursday that the victim was awake and screamed as her flesh was burned from lip to earlobe. Kibbol A. Avila described the attack as revenge for help the woman gave police in a 2006 domestic violence case involving two of his friends, James H. Standridge, 34, and Jackie L. Getz, 26. The two were arrested after she gave the help, and a child was removed from their home. (Link)
Want some more? Just watch the local news this evening. Amanda and I made that mistake earlier this week. Hoping to catch the weather forecast, we were inundated with story after story of murders, murder-suicides, drug busts, and the like. We went to bed grieved and overwhelmed.
Examples like these make it so clear how badly our culture needs the transforming grace of the gospel of Christ! Men’s hearts continue to devise and act out some of the most unbelievable acts of sin, and our culture is reeling under the heaviness of the burden it increasingly creates. But instead of seeking the only answer to all that pain and misery and emptiness, Jesus Christ, our society runs headlong for toys to distract us from the misery. We pin our hopes for societal and personal betterment on technology.
Instead of placing our trust in the Savior, we are infinitely confident in the possibilities of science. Instead of looking to ministers of God to deliver divine solutions to our deepest needs, we now seek the wisdom of our scientists and R&D departments to solve the practical and pragmatic. They are the new priests of our culture.
No doubt, technology certainly has its advantages. Who doesn’t appreciate the many conveniences these gadgets afford? I love my Mac, my iPod, and would love to own an iPhone. I love air conditioning, and my home is full of labor-saving appliances in the kitchen and garage. But today served as a stark reminder to keep my thinking clear about what really matters most in this world and to keep my hopes rightly-placed on a kingdom made without hands. I found myself praying today, “Thy kingdom come!” iPhones are nice, but righteous hearts are needful, for they are the certificate of entry into the kingdom of God.