There are pixels in front of our eyes, pods in our ears, and touchscreens at our fingertips. We cannot move without Uber, wait for the ride without Tweeting, eat without Yelping, work without Slacking, experience without Instagramming—we just cannot anymore. What was supposed to help us has made us less.
All the while, our humanity cries for intimacy. We are trying to supplant our physical need for intimacy with internet pornography, our social needs with “social” media, and our intellectual needs with streaming entertainment. We prefer to be sexual monists, one-sided conversationalists, and brainless consumers of moving images. While we have been waiting for humanity to harness technology to create a luxurious future of automatons, technology has harnessed humanity, sterilizing us into a generation of androids and apples.
Humanity is not found . . .
Humanity is not found in economic prosperity or political freedom. Humanity is not found even in the exploration of emotion, consciousness, and imagination. It’s not in food, although food is delicious. It’s not in sex, although sex is good. It’s not in the number of friends or in “deep” conversations. It’s not in technology. It’s not even in the Christian humanistic values of passion and purpose. Ultimately, food is digested, sex ends, friends die, technology gets updated (remember Friendster? Snapchat?), passion putters, and purpose is achieved. Our humanity is found in the intimacy we have been crying for the entire time: God.
Humanity is found . . .
Genesis 1:26–28 describes our human nature as being modeled after the image of God. Within this image, we are given authority, purpose, sexual gender, relationship, consciousness, value—our humanity. Whatever He is, we are. This mimicry of God, or reflection, is the true fulfillment of our humanity, and it satisfies the cry for intimacy.
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”1
Technology culture’s greatest fault
Where do we get this craving fulfilled? Is there a shortcut, post, bitly link, Wikipedia entry, tweet, that can succinctly provide this? No. Our impatience and instant microwave culture buck against this. Ironically, it is this unsatisfaction that satisfies and satisfaction that dissatisfies.
The God of time uses time to convey Himself, fulfill our need for intimacy, and make us more human. In other words, sit back; it takes time. And this is the greatest fault of the culture that surrounds technology—its abhorrence of time. The culture surrounding technology is obsessed with efficiency, and hatred for “time-consuming” eats away at us like flesh-eating bacteria. Infinite abysses can be filled only by infinite objects in infinite time.
Jesus reads hearts
Jesus read hearts. This is how He dealt with those trying to trap, persecute, attack, and even kill Him. This is how He dealt with those who loved, adored, and followed Him. Yet all were sinners. And to them, He revealed their motives. He revealed hypocrisy, innate and obvious. He revealed the discrepancy of exterior words and expressions with inner emotional motives.
He still reads them today. As we read Scripture, Jesus, the Living Word and the Written Word alike, reads our hearts again. The Holy Spirit searches our hearts like a powerful search engine with spiritual algorithms. We have the option to reject these results. But they do show up every morning in devotional time.
This is the intimacy we need. To be read. To change. To be like Jesus.
The world has a false intimacy, a sensual intimacy that purports to be about raw, unfiltered emotion. It is an ecstasy that has all hormonal cylinders on in full throttle. It is an experience that verges on burning out the senses and the spirit. This is often called a divine experience that some mimic while others worship. It is loud, powerful, roaring. It feels good but ends up momentary, fleeting, and effervescent.
Intimacy with Jesus is hearing that still, small Voice through reading, hearing, and studying the Word. And what that calls for is a response. For this wondrous Being of the universe breaks any stereotype of some impersonal, timeless entity and becomes a personal, intimate, exclusively one-on-one Friend with you who elicits an intimate cry of—“Yes, Lord.”
- Blaise Pascal, Pensées, trans. A. J. Krailsheimer ( London, UK: Penguin, 1993), 45.