God Bless the Tech Angels
My life is quite busy. By day, I am an educator for young people and adults caught up in the criminal justice system. By night, I am a freelance writer. By vocation, I am an ordained minister seeking to reach the world in nontraditional ways. And by age, I am a thirtysomething New Yorker trying to live in and enjoy the city. My load is so full that I think it’s becoming harder to spend time with friends, and also, sadly, God. I am not one to say that I am too busy for God. But I must admit that I’ve become too busy to connect with Him in the traditional way I’ve been taught. I’m talking about the “waking up at 5 a.m. to pray, meditate, read my bible and worship” kind of way. But instead of getting down on myself with the “Bad Christian” pity party, I’ve searched for another connection option; a technological, mobile one, if you will.
This is the information age. It is also an age when we connect to others through mobile devices and social networking. Being the techie that I am, I recently decided to use this technology to help me connect with God in a more consistent way. Ironically, the technology they make us believe we can’t live without has helped me stay connected to the God I can’t afford to live without.
So this is an ode. Better yet, this is a literary blessing to all of the technology (a.k.a. tech angels) that I believe is being divinely used to help me maintain my relationship with the Father. These tech angels are also showing me that, although I have a lot going on, I can still make time to feed my soul. So for all their help, I pray for a blessing upon them.
God Bless the iPhone — You’ve seen the commercials. If you have a need, there seems to be an iPhone application for it, even if it is a spiritual one. Do you ever get the desire to read your bible but didn’t bring your huge King James Version with you? No worries, you can download the bible in many different versions on your iPhone. Want to remember the word of God while walking down the street? There is a “Scripture of the day” app. Want to engage in devotions while waiting in a long line at the bank? There is a “Daily Word Devotions” app. Need help praying in the bathroom stall during work? There is the “Holy Rosary” app, and a “Prayer List” app to keep track of what to pray for. You can find all of these apps through the Apple app store.
God Bless Twitter — Twitter.com is a new social networking platform that lets users answer the question: “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less. Since its launch, though, users have not only answered that question, but have used their limit of words as a chance to inspire others. And if you “follow” such individuals, you can receive their words of encouragement instantly — over text messages, or on your Blackberry through TwitterBerry. My habit throughout the day is to read uplifting updates from people I follow. I am an educator by day, so I am seeking all the encouragement I can get. Former rapper and minister, Rev Run (@revrunwisdom), reminded me, in his tweet last week, that “when you are at peace with yourself for some reason everything and everybody is at peace with you… check your vibration.” It changed the course of my day.
God Bless Podcasts — iTunes hosts regularly updated spoken word files, known as podcasts, and offers them as free downloads. If you visit the iTunes Store religion and spirituality section, you will see podcasts from everyone from the Dali Lama to Joel Osteen. Busted Halo’s podcast with Father Dave provides encouragement and answers to the hard spiritual questions, in a two-way talk format and down-to-earth way. My favorites are “How ‘Bout A Vocation” and the “Interview with Deepak Chopra”. I download spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson’s “Miracle Thought” podcast on my iPod every morning and listen to her five minute segment of words of wisdom on repeat as I commute. Episodes like “Faithless Person” and “God’s Light” have brought me closer to myself, to God, and to those around me before I even get to work.
God Bless The Kindle — The Kindle is Amazon’s e-reader-on-the-go. You can down-load books directly to the device from amazon.com from anywhere without using a computer. That means you can read any book on-the-go. And, finally, in the dark. Amazon’s Kindle Spirituality section is not lacking. They have Richard Foster’s classic In Celebration of Discipline and David Jeremiah’s When God Winks At You. To remember a section that speaks to you, the Kindle 2 has highlight and bookmark features. Traveling with inspirational reading has become so much simpler now.
God Bless Phone Messaging — There are daily SMS services, such as ndeavr.com, that can send short inspirational messages to your cell phone via text. You can also sign up online at specific motivators’ and ministers’ websites for voice messaging services. Some time ago, I signed up to receive my Pastor’s voice messages. I was able to designate a time to receive them. When I picked up, it was either a recorded 30-second prayer or a sermon excerpt. It was always something I needed to hear at that time.
God Bless Mobile Internet — If you have a smartphone like a G1, Sidekick, Blackberry or iPhone, or even a mobile internet card on your laptop, then you have internet where ever you go. This means all sorts of online spiritual resources at your fingertips. You can read online bible tools like biblestudytools.net or visit Sacred Space (sacredspace.ie). BustedHalo.com will also soon be launching the “Daily Jolt” which–like their popular “Fast Pray Give” Lenten Calendar–will pair off-beat quotes and videos on spirituality and faith with “micro-acts” that will challenge readers right then and there to put their faith into practice in small but meaningful ways.
Some may look at this “God-on-the-go technology” as a sacrilegious and lazy, but I believe I’m just getting more creative with how and when I connect to God and to my inner self. It’s nice to know that it doesn’t have to be restricted to prayer rooms at home, the pews at church or a set time before dawn. Rather, it can be on the train, on the street, in the cafeteria or in a business meeting. I’m no longer putting God in a box. I’ve decided to take him with me everywhere I go now, no matter how busy I’ve become.