When I was a teenager I remember describing God as the string that connects all living things together. This metaphor still holds true for me today. If we look inside of ourselves to the part that is linked to every other living thing, we see God. In this way God is not a separate entity from us. Yet we are not God. We are empty vessels if we do not reach out to other beings. If we think we can do it all alone, we lose God’s frequency. That’s just what I think.
Yet I find myself tempted to judge people who see God differently than I do. And worse, I want to judge those that judge others for seeing God differently than they do. But I am concerned about people that want to put God in a box and keep Him for themselves. My idea of God doesn’t work without everyone on board. My Pastor has helped me through this. Treat people as I would want to be treated, leave the judgment to God.
If the connection we are looking for requires an intact telephone line to get through to the purest part of ourselves and each other, then what does that say about this day and age of cell phones? I wonder if we are ‘cutting out’ on each other more and more often. If we are finding ourselves in need, but out of range, out of batteries or out of time?
I recently heard travel tales from people who had visited The Gambia in West Africa. They spoke of how there was not a great deal of wealth circulating the villages, but there were a great number of cell phones. Last summer when I traveled up near the North pole I was astounded to see the number of people carting cell phones around and using them with the same addictive quality that you would see on a New York City street.
I read recently that people moved from rural areas to cities to come closer together. Next came the Internet and cell phones with the same goal. The author astutely noted that what is bringing us together is tearing us apart. This idea that we should be able to reach everyone always and get information immediately ends up being counter-intuitive to the idea that God lives in a quiet space inside of us. And that it is only the “land line” that can reliably connect us - pun definitely intended. I don't suggest we all move back to the land. But shall we take a moment to consider if this new age of advancement is working for us?
Essentially we need to be grounded to hear God’s voice inside of us. Buzzing around with a never-ending to-do list and piling more and more onto our plates with all of the ‘free’ time that technology has given us is causing us to unravel - from ourselves, our families, our communities, our land. What I find is what used to take a day of research in a library can now be uncovered in a matter of minutes from the comfort of my own home on the Internet. And what used to take a walk over to the neighbours house, can now look like an email. I am surprised at myself how often I use email to farm. No face, no chitchat, just right down to business. Do you have any extra hay this year? Can you give me a good source to buy firewood? Anyone need some extra eggs? The business is attended to here but the connection is lost.
Like all progress, it is necessary to figure out a way to take the good from what has been learned and let go of the parts that don’t serve humanity for the better. That is tricky on a continent where greed has turned into an almost unconscious state. We no longer know when enough is enough. We eat too much, buy too much, have too many cars in our driveway, consume, consume, consume then waste, waste, waste and wonder why we feel empty at the end of the day. I might not be speaking for everyone here but I certainly find that the more I accumulate and focus on this amassing of goods, the less fulfilled I feel. The more I reach out to my fellow human beings and tend to the living things around me with care and consideration, the happier I become.
Cell phones were once considered to be useful for emergencies. Either we are experiencing a lot more emergencies these days or using a cell phone (Blackberry, iPhone, Internet…) has become as regular as eating and pooping in our day.
Is it possible to connect to the true God within us all if we are driving down the road with a headset babbling about which kind of pants we bought today? Or have we turned God into something we want handed through a car window when we need to feel nourished? Fast food God in a box. Buy one get one free God.
In the case of amenities in the home, women no longer have to slap laundry against rocks in a creek, we have appliances to do our elbow work, our cleaning, our kneading, mixing and chopping. We don’t have to handle our food as intimately as we used to. If we choose, we can have a pre-made meal waiting for us in the freezer when we get home. We have people in other countries to do our sewing, knitting and weaving, depending on cheap fuel and labour to bring it all to us at a cost much less than what it would take to make it ourselves. Supposedly, our lives have gotten easier. We don’t even have to get out of our chair to turn the channel on our soap operas.
Now instead of being physically exhausted and having hands that are worked to the bone, we are breaking apart in other ways. Our bodies are fighting back. Where there were once villages of people working together, we now have gadgets and pharmaceutical companies to attend to our dis-ease. Don’t get me wrong. The right prescription in the right case or the right gadget at the right time saves lives. But can we admit that we are getting frivolous in our usage? I think overuse of these external ‘helpers’ that supposedly make things easier is disrupting our ability to seek unity and balance. We are indeed losing our connections – to ourselves and to God.
Okay, I have no solutions here I know. I'm going to quit preaching for now and take a walk over to my neighbour’s house and see if she needs a dozen eggs. But first I will call her on my land line to see if she is home.