is impressive ... and seductive. Our
culture thrives on iPods, laptops, PDAs, cell
phones, wireless Internet access, and a host of other
gadgets and gizmos. And each electronic addition to our
belts or briefcases advances our social
the positive side, technology has helped produce the
"global village" of our day. This email is a good
example, reaching people all over the world instantly
with the click of a button. Geography is no longer a
barrier to information.
information and communication are very different
myth of our age is that faster connections are also
better ones. "A quick text-message or short email is
better than nothing at all." But our speedy messages
have increasing drawbacks. We produce them so fast that
we often miscommunicate; they become our sole means of
messaging so that we grow incapable of lengthy,
meaningful dialogue; and they steadily isolate us from
the spiritual experience of "presence" with each other.
They have a higher potential to kill a team than build a
trend of our day is to email people rather than talk to
them - even if they are in the next room. Its quick and
convenient, but at what cost? We ask a question and
answer a question, but have little genuine
communication. As we know, words have only ever been a
small proportion of the communication process.
is that which forms "community" and happens when we
"commune" with each other. A simple exchange of
information does not necessarily achieve that
we ought not understate the intrusiveness of technology
into our lives. With our enhanced capacity to make
contact, we have become a constantly on-call generation.
Electronic contact has become addictive. The cell phone
buzzes and we either answer it immediately or feel
obliged to check who's calling, even if we are meeting
with someone else. Furthermore, our email is sacrosanct,
deserving and needing our constant attention. We feel
important when there are calls and emails, and this
subtly turns our technology into a task-master rather
than a servant.
ramifications of this for leadership are
leaders, this techno-allure is no less. Perhaps a
"theology of technology" is needed. Has not Christ made
us for "face-to-face" encounter? The electronic
whiz-bangery of 2005 is not a surprise to the Lord, yet
at creation He opted not to include it. Instead He liked
to "walk in the garden in the cool of the day" with
the man and the woman.
He not handle the pace? Or, indeed, might there be a
lesson in this about the pace? The sacred is not
measured by speed. Intimacy does not emerge out of
haste. Community is not the product of exchanging
information. An indefinable, spiritual reality happens
when people get together.
leaders, the connection of hearts and spirits with our
team and our people is far deeper than the conveyance of
information. While technology allows us to do more, it
may hinder us from going deep. May we never embrace
efficiency over effectiveness or information over
for an electronic fast?