Turm Your Computer OFF/ Star Wars

July 27, 2007 at 7:43 pm Leave a comment

 I was lamenting a few weeks ago that God hadn’t shown up to help with a sermon I was creating. Well, the Spirit did show up late Saturday night in the form of a Billy Graham crusade from 1959. The Spirit also moved throughout the service the next day and it was magnificent. Well for most; a lady two rows from the back had a good snooze! Hmmmm …. maybe she was in deep meditation …. Yeah, that’s it!

The Creator seems to be making up for lost time. The other afternoon I felt a sudden jolt of inspiration as I read and a sermon idea started forming in my mind.  As God once told me in a dream/vision, “I will never let you down.” Ahhh, yes indeed.

I was reading in Joseph Campbell’s “The Power of Myth” about the movie Star Wars and how it was a modern version of an ancient myth. Myths are stories told primarily for moral instruction and help us learn about life, ourselves and our roll in life. The particular passage concerned Obi-Wan (Ben) Kenobi advising Luke Skywalker to “Turn off your computer, turn off your machine and do it yourself, follow your feelings, trust your feelings.” There was a groan as the cogs of the rusty machine in my head haltingly meshed, yielding the idea. When the grinding was done I was left with the sermon message of “heart” (feelings) over “head” (science/technology) being more relevant today than when Ben Kenobi spoke those words in the 1970s.

Technology over the last thirty years has quietly crept deeply into our lives. By technology I particularly mean computers. Most of us now rely on these machines to correspond, get the news, get weather forecasts, be a fast source of obscure information and provide data for decision making. Computer games entertain a very great number of our young people and some not so young too. Residential streets and backyards are quiet as people stay inside their cocoons glued to the virtual world inside the cool blue rectangle. Interaction with real humans is almost gone. Being out in public, where interconnection is most likely, has become a zombie- like dance of avoidance as people move through the world with a phone or iPod glued to their ears. Eye contact is rare, even in face-to-face encounters. Technology may not yet be our master but it has certainly become our escape from the real world and is the armour that protects us from encounter as we move about God’s garden.

Marcus Borg’s book, “The Heart of Christianity” points out a bridge between these two worlds of “heart” and “head”. A bridge that allows people to escape the island of alienation and enter the world of abundant life. Borg tells us that the hallmark of the emerging church will be putting heart back into religion; hearing those myths; connecting with neighbours. Religion, or Spirituality, can be the bridge between isolation and inclusion, moving from head to heart. For too long the heart has been overshadowed, first by imposed doctrine in the early church, then by scientific thought and reason, now abetted by technology. Today’s western society has become very “head” oriented. I think this is partly responsible for the traditional/ contemporary tension evident in the church today. There are traditionalists whose heads have been told that the old ways and doctrines are best because they worked before and will work again if given a chance. There are the contemporaries whose heads reason that relevance can be fostered by updating old ways but they struggle to connect with a constituency. Outside of religion there are what I’ll call the “modernists” whose heads are in a binary fog. If something cannot be explained in binary code, then it is not valid. The Bible/Spirituality = not rational = not relevant = not on the radar. All these groups are “head” oriented in one way or another. The magical machine in their head obscures their heart.

There exists an opportunity for what I’ll term the technophiles of today, those who have a handle on the computer age. These technophiles can be the prophets of the Emerging Church pointing out the bridge from isolation to inclusion, from “head” to “heart”. We have forgotten the heart lessons of myth. We need to listen to Ben Kenobi and Marcus Borg and “turnoff our computer, turn off our machine.” We need to “follow our feelings, trust our feelings.” Put more “heart” into life; rediscover the myths. This will lead us across the bridge towards connecting with our neighbours. Technology won’t disappear but must be a powerful tool and not a powerful master. We must learn to turn the machine off and trust our feelings, our heart. We will then be positioned to experience the myth and metaphor of the Bible (and other sacred writings) putting us in touch with the eternal Spirit within one another and bathe us in abundant life.

Last word to Obi-Wan Kenobi (try the word God or Spirit for “the Force”): “The Force is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.”

Peace; May the Force be with you.

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Entry filed under: Wrestling With God.

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