So, we’ve made it into the 20’s. We learn in our history classes that we should learn from our history, lest history repeat itself. I can’t help but think about the “roaring twenties” from the last century and wonder whether we’ve positioned ourselves any better than our ancestors if the bottom falls out, as it did when the Great Depression hit.
The 1920s was a heydey for technology. Automobiles and radios became commonplace. More people had telephones and electric appliances in their homes. Motion pictures were created. People moved from rural communities to urban centers. After enduring World War I, the time of austerity was ending. Consumerism was rampant. Daily living became very “I”- oriented, seeking personal pleasure in consumer goods and “fast” living.
My big gift for Christmas this year was a Roomba by iRobot. I have been fascinated and almost spell-bound watching “Bob” (as Cadee has named it) learn its way around our house as it vacuums the floors and returns to its home base when it needs to be recharged. I commented to my husband that I feel like Jane Jetson, the wife in the futuristic space-age cartoon show of my childhood. We’ve got Alexa devices that turn on/off lights, give us information on demand and keep track of my shopping needs. We’ve got thermostats that can be managed remotely and that learn our patterns to automatically adjust the temperature. We walk around with amazing supercomputers in the palms of our hands, allowing us to stay connected and have access to endless information wherever we are. Our washer and dryer are “smart” machines that can be programmed when to wash and beep my phone when they’ve completed their cycles. Our cars have GPS so (presumably) we never get lost. Then, of course, there are the “old school” time-saving appliances like dishwashers and microwaves, coupled with the trendy InstantPot, making cooking and cleaning time in the kitchen a snap, and televisions that allow us to pause, rewind and fast-forward live tv.
I absolutely love all of these time-saving devices. But I wonder sometimes, what are they saving me time from? When I vacuumed the house or hand-washed dishes or raked leaves, I gained time for introspection, time to pray about something difficult in my life, time to be alone with God. These routine tasks created built-in quiet time. Now that these tasks are handled by Roombas, Maytags, and leaf blower/mulchers, that built-in quiet time becomes harder to come by. Now I actually have to schedule quiet time into my day, because otherwise, I would load the dishwasher and head off to do something “I“-oriented.
I’ve often commented that I think my smart phone has made me dumber. I don’t have to retain information anymore. My phone has it all. It remembers phone numbers and birthdays. It can quickly recall the name of a movie or book. It can listen to music and tell me the name of the song and the performing artist. It can take a word a two that I remember and come up with the Bible passage I’m trying to recall. It gives a whole new meaning to the word effortless.
Sometimes, effortless isn’t a good thing. We need to put our energies and our efforts into things for them to grow and bloom and flourish. And by things, I mean relationships. Relationships with our spouses, our children, our families and friends. Relationships in our local and global communities. And, most importantly, our relationship with God. Faith cannot be effortless. More than ever, we need to make an effort in this fast-paced world to create space for growing our understanding and relationship with our Living God. I know I do. Only then will I be equipped to live in this fast-pasted roaring 2020-lifestyle, and whatever comes after it.
Grace and peace to you as you journey.
Yours in Christ,