No Good Reason

Another song. This one I made two years back. Lyrics and discussion below:

I’ve never seen the sunlight

So why should I believe

that these clouds will ever leave

why should I believe

that things will change

why should I believe

that things will ever change

If all I get is a moment

That’s enough to make me free

I’m fighting off the demons

that say what was is what will be

There’s no good reason to trust you

And there’s no good reason to hope

There’s no good reason to love

There’s no good reason

No good reason

I wrote this song sitting in my bedroom on a cloudy day, musing on miracles. “I’ve never seen a miracle” was the first thought that crossed my mind, “and why should believe that I will ever see one?” I started associating my anger and frustration in not being able to see a neat, tidy demonstration of the Divine to the feeling of despair, specifically a despair of faith. “If all I saw was one tiny glimpse” I thought, “I’d be satisfied” (which, of course, probably isn’t true.)

Crossing over from the realm of miracles to faith, the song ends up really being about hoping against all hope. “There’s no good reason to have faith, hope, or love” — especially in the face of things like pain and suffering. In darkness, it’s hard to see any form of reason as good. In fact, it’s  impossible to see anything at all.

But how do you hope for light if you’ve never seen it? Or why should you hope for it if you don’t even know what it is?

In other words, how can you desire it if you don’t believe in it? And how can you believe in it if you haven’t heard of it? And how can you hear about it without someone to tell you? And how can someone tell you unless they have seen it themselves?

How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.

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The Devil is not in our phones.

“The Devil is not in our books! He is in our hearts!”  (Reverend Moore, Footloose)

Growing up in Christian circles there was a subtle stigma against the evils of “technology.”  It was a distraction from God, prayer, serving your neighbor, etc.  Cell phones, iPods, etc are prohibited from retreats and pastors often encourage the congregation to “unplug” in order to hear the voice of God.

Let me be the first to say “Yes, Yes!” to any pastor who encourages his congregation to look for God and separate themselves from distractions.  We as humans tend to walk through life looking at the dirt, at whatever is on the ground right in front of us.  Sometimes God lets us walk into things which hurts for the time being but is no more evil when their child runs into a lamppost because he is bent over texting a cute girl.  In both cases, we tend to look up and take stock of our surroundings (sometimes discovering that God or that cute girl is within sight and we never would have known).   But to say it is entirely technology’s fault is ignoring the fact that there is a girl on the other end of the phone and a drive inside of that child to be attractive to her.

Technology is merely a means to our own ends.  It enables us to purse our own various passions.  When an unfaithful man neglected his family two hundred years ago, to pursue his own passions or interests, he went from work to the racetrack, or the pub, or the theater.  Today, he will come home after work.  But he won’t really be at home.  You will still find his heart at the racetrack, or the pub, or the theater as he vegges in front of the TV, or computer, or Xbox.  In the former case, would you blame the man or the places where he frequented?  Is his unfaithfulness to his family the theater’s fault?  No, of course not!  You would blame man for being too caught up in what does not matter and hope that he would learn choose what matters more.  So, too, with the latter.  It is a character flaw.

What we have run into is not technology’s inherent ability to distract from focus on our Lord.  What we have run into is our inherent desire for things that aren’t Him.

The reason behind its absolute propensity to take over peoples’ lives is two-fold.  First, our individualistic society allows people to make their own decisions.  Not a bad idea in its own right, but when obsession is being manifest in a person their friends and family (namely parents) either just do not possess the moral hutzpa to prevent it or they themselves are too distracted by their obsessions to prevent that in their children.  A practical example of the sins of fathers resting on their children.  The second reason is like the first, and that is we have been taught that the pursuit of our passions is rightly placed as the first priority in our lives because that will make us most happy.  Consumer technology is merely a means to our happiness, and a particularity attainable means to that end, so why change our behavior?

The very reason why we have improved our ability to do tasks (i.e. Technology) is so that we can accomplish what we want to do more easily, or to fulfill the dreams our imagination, things that were previously impossible to do.  Technology exists to accomplish man’s goals.  If our goals are to talk to a pretty girl, follow the latest sports news, do business, or learn more about our Christ, technology makes it easier to do so and to do so more efficiently.

“The Devil is not in our books!  He’s in our hearts!”

(Reverend Moore, Footloose)

The Devil is not in the theater, not in the pub, not in the races.  He is not in our TV, our internet, or our games.  The Devil is not in our phones.  He is in us, turning our focus away from those we should love and towards useless pursuits.  If we find ourselves running into lampposts, we can hardly blame the phone in our hands.

So let us go forward in the freedom of Christ, to avoid whatever leads us to sin and strike a blow to our bodies in discipline so as to render us more perfect servants of Christ.