In the past 20 years our world has changed in ways we couldn’t have imagined. We live in what has been called the ‘Information Age.’ The amount of information in the world is growing at about 53% per year. We have moved from books, shorthand writing and typewriters to ebooks, data entry and texting. We have gone from cassette tape to CD to iPod to iCloud. I Can now access my entire office and library from anywhere in the world. We have moved from land-lines to pagers to cell phones to ‘smart phones.’ We have gone from the 256 MB computer to terabytes and the 32 Gig iPhone. Everything is digital and rich in data. Who could have ever comprehended that entire libraries of books – 1,100 in a 16 Gb Kindle – could be carried around weighing less than a nice hardbound classic?
One of the greatest Kings in all of history was Alexander the great. His library became one of the worlds greatest treasures. It contained approximately 600,000 scrolls, or about 100,000 modern books. It was his crown achievement. The ability to read and write was special; and things to read were coveted. To put this into perspective for you: The entire treasure of Alexandria’s library would fail to fill an $89 external hard drive containing 2 terabytes of storage!
But in a world where information is growing and growing and our capacity to store it and devour it is increasing; yet, 7 mb of information has the power to shape cultures, lives and ultimately the world – as it has for the past 2000 years. This 7 mb of information is the Holy Bible! I just downloaded a .pdf document containing the entire Bible in less time than it took to take a sip of coffee. These 7 mb of information have and will continue to puzzle, fulfill and challenge mankind until the book is one day closed. But in a world where D.I.Y. and Self-Help are the fastest growing sections in every book store – How does the Bible stand out? Does it stand out anymore? Is it coveted?
The early modern age was born in the 1450’s with one pivotal invention: The Gutenberg Printing Press. Among the first to ever be produced, the Gutenberg Bible. From this day on, normal everyday people had ready access to the worlds most coveted thing, information. Literacy rates skyrocketed and a new era was born, one of exponential increase in the world of information. Music began taking its form with printed music on the classical ‘Staff’ in the 15th century giving swift prompting to birth the Baroque period of auditory revolution; and some 500 + years later, there are no signs of stopping the evolution of our worlds culture, sounds and ways according to the vastness of knowledge at our fingertips.
So, How does the 7mb Bible, which doesn’t evolve with cultures; but remains the same in content, continue to impact a people? The thought has been challenging me for a little while now. I recently read a bold statement from the book ‘The Present Future’ by Reggie McNeal. It stated: ‘The Church is print reliant. The Bible has become for the modern church the supreme manifestation of the Word of God (not Christ) because it is “objective” truth (a modern distinction). It became the fourth member of the Trinity. The sermon (an explanation of text) has replaced the mass (along with the mystery of God’s intervention). In a world of information; has the insatiable appetite for more information become a stumbling block? Is faith no longer ‘Confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see?’ -Hebrews 11:1. Does ‘faith’ now have a specific informational quota? If it does, can we still call it faith? Faith in what? Faith in what we think we know, or faith in who we know? 1 Corinthians 1:27 ‘God chose the foolish things in the world to confound the wise.’ Is faith in God becoming foolish in the eyes of the world because faith is equated to a lack of understanding or founded upon a less informed future?
Here is the dichotomy: I don’t need to be a mechanic to drive a car, nor do I need to understand the trades of plumbing and electrical engineering to use my bathroom and kitchen. I especially don’t need to understand how the entire digital world is somehow invisibly streaming through my living room right now via airwaves and such in order to use the internet. I don’t question where my water comes from and how it gets to my sink before I get a drink of water, I just know it works. Why then, do we need all of the information about every intricacy of God’s plan before we lift a finger to be part of it? Has the need for every byte of information become a stumbling block for those that really want to do as God has commanded?
God is asking His people to return to Him, the Person of God. John 1 tells us that the Word of God is God and is always with God; however, we cannot reduce God to a word or a book. We need to develop a true spiritual relationship with Christ Himself. His Word is the first and most consistent step in our walks with Him, But it is not the entire basis for a relationship with Him – That would reduce a relationship with a person to viewing their twitter feed; it doesn’t cut it. Relationships need face to face intimate discussions and long walks together, real encounters with real people. God is the same, He longs for the deepest and most invasive relationship in our life.
It’s time. It’s time for a world of information junkies to stop looking for knowledge about God and to get to know Him. It’s time to start to do as He has commanded, to make disciples and baptize believers into His Kingdom without needing a seminary degree first. Jesus says, ‘those that have eyes to see and ears to hear…’ He wasn’t saying physical eyes and ears, but Kingdom/Spiritual eyes and ears to; like Christ, to see and hear what the Father is doing and speaking. We live in a world where 7 mb of information will point us to the infinite God, the source of all life and all of life’s answers. In a world of information overload, there is a longing for a great spiritual awakening. The harvest is plenty – Go!