It’s a word that we have all heard in church. But sometimes I hear “Christian” words and they go in one ear and out the other. Autopilot becomes the default. Our brains prefer easy pathways and abstractions and simplicity rather than complex thought. But what if we didn’t go on autopilot this time?
Honestly, much of the time, I want to remain on autopilot. Spout the “Christianese” and just move on to something more entertaining, something more interesting. But that’s the very problem our modern technology has foisted upon us. We take the easy path of scrolling and swiping to the next thing. And we find ourselves scrolling with equal apathy past the latest pop star’s outfit as well as the murder of innocents in some distant place of geography.
What is going on in our minds? We’re at war. War against our flesh, which wants to lead us through the easy brain paths. It takes strength to machete-whack my way through the overgrown paths of empathy.
Let me take a different tactic with this word I mentioned earlier. Omnipresence. Thanks to this brightly lit piece of electronic bliss in my pocket, I can literally see into anywhere on the planet. I can see into the world’s war zones. I can see into people’s living rooms. Their bedrooms and bathrooms. I’m everywhere at once. At least, that’s what my brain thinks. I’m obviously not everywhere at once, but I’m experiencing so much of the world in real time that I might as well be, as far my feeble mortal brain is capable of handling.
So now I’ve got a pseudo-omnipresence and my soul can’t ever rest. Because I see tragedy and gossip and relational tension and I can’t sort it all out. Not only do I not have time any more to sit and process, I don’t have the power to take action in any of these situations.
So I feel anxious. Sad. Constantly moving and in tension.
Then . . . apathy. Because it’s too hard to care this much.
Now, a text from someone in my small group comes in. Or from a close family member. Tragedy has hit. Or, maybe they need help moving. My attention, my time, and my generosity are requested. My gut response? Apathy.
Because it’s just one more equal input to my soul and I’m processing it on the same level as the pop star’s new outfit and the murder of innocents.
So I sit.
And I scroll.
I’m everywhere at once.