I discovered Skype today – I fear that this might be a Pandora’s box (or jar, if you are a pedant) type of discovery.
It offers free telephone calls from computer to computer; or calls from a computer to a landline, in most countries where we might know people, at 1.7 c a minute, which is about 1 Euro an hour.All of which pretty much wipes out all the excuses one can find for not keeping in touch.It also means that those you might not want to hear from have unbridled opportunity to phone for a chat.
Being a Christian, and necessarily feeling compassion for all who are separated from their loved ones, I have to say that technology like Skype has to be a wonderful blessing.According to the website today, there were 189 million registered users – I think that’s about 3 per cent of the world’s population.
Certainly, it is good to talk.The whole story of Jesus is about God communicating with people.The Bible is a story of communications.
But it’s also good to be silent, to be quiet and to be isolated sometimes.Reading the story of Jesus, you find there are moments when he went off to be alone and to find silence.
It’s increasingly difficult for us to do that; telling someone that you are going way and that even your mobile will be switched off is seen as a mark of eccentricity or, even worse, of rudeness.It invites a look of puzzlement.Why would you want to be out of touch?It must mean you don’t like people!
The new technology has reduced our world to the size of a village, I can text a friend in the Philippines and get an instant response, but even in a village there are moments when you can be still and be quiet.People living in a village know their neighbours; they get used to their mannerisms and know the nuances.
What we need to do with all of our new technology is to be able to see beyond the words and the messages to the people behind them.
At the heart of Jesus’ communication skills was a recognition of the thoughts and feelings of each person; if technology is to be a blessing and not a curse we must find ways of going beyond the electronics, to be able to communicate not with numbers or names, but with people.