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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

8 October 2014: Jon Piper, Hope Church

Fill the Earth and Subdue My Phone

While picnicking with family this weekend, a cup of tea was spilt onto my phone. It began to act slightly strangely, so I offered it the care and attention that has become customary for the modern drenched smartphone: intensive drying and prayer.

Unfortunately, when I tried to use it again today, its situation had not improved. This became especially clear when it gave me a series of electric shocks.

Usually, intense reflection would follow at this point. I would realise that I rely upon my phone far too much. Perhaps I would confess to succumbing to that modern plague of techno-dependency.

Instead, I spent most of my day at a forum for local older people. One of the main themes of the discussion was communication. It seemed that many of the services, which make independent life possible for these older people, are designed to be accessed through modern, online methods. This essentially makes them completely inaccessible by most of the people in the forum as many of the people there had no capacity to access the internet.

So, when I arrived home and was reunited with my ailing phone and after a few more electric shocks, I came to realise that my phone is not a plague, but a blessing. With it, my life is greatly enriched.

I think that the people who developed the technology for this phone were, quite probably unintentionally, following the commission that God gave humanity in the first chapter of the Bible. When God says to the people "Fill the Earth and subdue it", it might just as well be translated "rule it, explore it, work it out, do science and geography with it, make things with it, enjoy it".

My phone is a brilliant product of this commission.

Well, it used to be.

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