Thursday, September 30, 2010

Satellites, Ticks, and Scripture from Thin Air

Technology outran my imagination a long time ago, and yet the USA put a man on the moon forty years ago. Does that timeframe swamp your brain with disbelief? It does mine.

I recently read an article by Dauna Coulter about how ticks are now tracked by satellite. Since ticks like “moist, heavily vegetated” areas, college students learned to use infrared images from the Terra satellite to find those areas most likely to have a heavy infestation of ticks.

The students followed up with a ground search by dragging white sheets through the detected dense foliage. They then counted and identified ticks. They found plenty. Because ticks can cause very serious Lyme Disease, this tracking information helps global health organizations, Boy and Girl Scouts campers, and other outdoorsmen.

Another mind boggling thing I’m seeing on magazines and such are codes that look similar to bar codes, but they aren’t price markers. On a recent visit to a church, I saw a barcode on the back of their Sunday a.m. worship guide. The instructions said to take a picture of the code with a smart phone (which requires a specific application for code reading). This particular code would lead the user to the scriptures used in the morning sermon.

On the back page of the current issue of “Christianity Today” an advertisement for Carol Kent’s new book, “Between a Rock and a Grace Place,” uses the same type code which leads to a download of her video about “Grace Place.”

Some churches now have electronic giving options for congregants, who can have funds withdrawn on a regular basis. This helps the church meet its budget during summer vacations and the flu season when their members are more likely to miss several Sundays in a row.

All of this technology reminiscing brings me to tell you about a tiny Bible our friend Eddie brought to us a few weeks ago. The Bible was attached to a key chain. It’s not a fake Bible; it’s the real thing in miniature. It’s less than an inch thick and a little over an inch tall. And while my aging eyes cannot read a word of the minuscule print, my trusty magnifying glass verifies its content. What technology did it take to complete placing 66 books in that compact form? A whole Bible much smaller than a teabag!

These thoughts bring me to the different modes of reading or hearing the Bible these days. I received a gift of the New Testament for my iPod and the program allows me to listen for 20 minutes each day and hear the entire New Testament in 40 days. The younger crowd “reads” the Bible through different means. Many do have versions of the Bible on their phones (Youversion), but at home they still have a favorite Bible where they actually turn paper pages. They, however, do like always having an electronic version with them all the time, even if it is in their iphone. Now that’s encouraging!

Over the years, I’ve listened to the Bible from cassette tapes, CDs, and watched DVDs, but now I have the whole Bible on a keychain and the New Testament on my iPod, both of those weighing less than a snack size candy bar. I don’t think God’s happy that his word is so at hand these days.

As I thought back over Bible stories, I saw how those could illuminate this topic. I asked myself, is it the method of receiving direction from God that’s important or the message?

Bible characters were guided and heard the word of God through many venues: God spoke to a wicked world through Noah and the ship he built on dry land. He enlisted a fire in a green bush to get Moses’ attention. God stopped the prophet Balamm when his donkey spoke to him. A huge fish supplied needed solitary confinement for Jonah. God’s voice in the night called little boy Samuel and he answered, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9). Earth’s splendor shouted intelligent design to the psalmist David.

Whether you hold a Bible in your hands or receive it through seemingly thin air, your life can still take in ancient words from God, still relevant, still able to guide you today. Now, that’s amazing!

1 comment:

  1. Loved this! I, too, am often dumbfounded by how far technology goes in what seems like light-speed.

    Been thinking about you a lot lately. It was refreshing to see your post pop up on my FB home page just now. :o)