What Their Own Fingers Have Made

They bow down to idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made.

–Isaiah 2:8

Since January, I’ve been using a reading plan to get through the whole Bible (actually, the OT once and the NT and Psalms twice) in one year. I started Isaiah yesterday, and came across this verse today. As I read it, hazelnut-infused coffee in one hand, and  my Sharpie pen in the other, I scribbled it onto a post it note, to add to the verses that make me think of a theology of technology.

I’ve spent most of this week frantically doing homework, busily preparing my talk for this evening, keeping up with the blog, and doing a million other things. The common denominator of these tasks is the computer screen I’m staring at right now. Someone told me with concern yesterday that my eyes were bloodshot and red–I realized that it was probably because I’d spent about five to six hours staring at the screen.

So then comes this verse: “they bow down to the works of their hands.” I’m fascinated by my honest need to stare at this screen all day (I do have things to do) with such intensity and such focus. Rarely do I have such concentration elsewhere. I’ve had this netbook for two years now, and the keys are worn, familiar to my fingers.

I can’t say that I use this thing which was made by man’s fingers with lust and idolatry in my heart. I can’t say that I ever bow down into my heart. Yet, as Postman points out, we often end up being used by our technologies more than we use them.

What do you think? Are we the users or the used? If someone with no technological background observed us and our devices, would they use Isaiah’s words to describe us?

Sam Storms on Forgiveness

Here is a great piece by Sam Storms, “Forgiveness: What it Is and Isn’t.”

A good quote:

The point is that forgiveness does not mean you are to ignore that a wrong was done or that you deny that a sin was committed. Forgiveness does not mean that you close your eyes to moral atrocity and pretend that it didn’t hurt or that it really doesn’t matter whether or not the offending person is called to account for his/her offense. Neither are you being asked to diminish the gravity of the offense, or to tell others, “Oh, think nothing of it; it really wasn’t that big of a deal after all.” Forgiveness simply means that you determine in your heart to let God be the avenger. He is the judge, not you.

This is especially helpful as we deal with people who have undergone abuse and harm by loved ones or strangers. A good friend of mine was told by his church that he needed to forgive his father, who had sexually abused him for years, and move on with his life–to the point of sitting in the same pew. Forgiveness does not invite us to ignorance, but to a deeper kind of knowing that places the pain firmly into our story.

If you are engaged in caring for souls, this is a must-read and a healthy reminder.

HT: Justin Taylor

More on bin Laden’s Death

Last night, when the news broke, my trusty and faithful room mate said, “Sweet.” Then, “Well, I guess Proverbs tells me I can’t say that.”

I was annoyed, because I knew he was right, and the Holy Spirit was convicting me. So I read the verses he was talking about:

“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him. Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.” –Proverbs 24:17-18

This morning, someone else put Romans 13:4 on their blog: “[The Governing Authority] is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”

Clearly, many of us are taking a number of perspectives on this moment. Christopher Morgan, over at the Gospel Coalition, has another thoughtful perspective to add to the mix:

“Though the comparison is by no means perfect, and though it is on a much smaller scale, I tend to think that we can rightly grieve that Osama bin Laden opposed the true and living God and will be punished accordingly. But we also can rightly rejoice in the defeat and judgment upon people who are evil–and he was clearly evil and deserving of every punishment earth can give. The dancing in the streets may not merely be American nationalism, but an appropriate response to the partial display of human justice as we await the final and perfect display of divine justice in the coming age.”

Read the whole thing here, and think along with the rest of us.