I am a bit of a geek. There, I’ve said it, even though on one level I disagree with the description.
You see, the stereotype of a geek is that of a bearded computer programmer in a strange T-shirt, lost in an arcane world of servers, ping messages and web protocols, with barely a passing presence in the real world.
I do not have a beard.
I cannot write computer code.
I don’t understand much computer jargon.
I spend most of my time on planet earth.
It’s true I have a number of strange T-shirts, but that’s just coincidence.
The reason that I suppose I am a bit of a geek (note the qualification ‘bit of’) is that I like gadgets. I enjoy using Apple computers and devices, and our household has been painstakingly converted from PC to Mac use over the years. So when Steve Jobs died recently, it felt like someone I knew.
His iPod has proved an extraordinary invention that has turned the music industry upside down.
With music easily available in a digital format, our whole approach to it has changed. Instead of laboriously recording mix tapes from vinyl onto cassette, we can now easily construct playlists from our iTunes library. I’ve refound old music and discovered new music. It’s brilliant.
Creative genius and interactive technology have changed millions of lives. Lots of benefits have resulted. Lots of dangers have to be faced.
We can’t turn the clock back as if it never happened.
But isn’t that exactly what Christians can end up doing?
In the Bible, Paul writes to one church about how we should live if we belong to Christ. He talks about all the stuff we used to do and say, that we should now be leaving behind.
Saying things that aren’t strictly true, for example: “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old nature with its practices. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.”
The reality is that all of us who belong to Christ are new creations. Our old selves are like Betamax videos: old technology that won’t work with a new operating system.
So my challenge to myself, much as I love vinyl and books and classic old technology, is to remind myself that in following Jesus I am a completely new creation. I’m not what I will be – yet – but I’m not what I was. I’m a work in progress.
And for all of us who are serious about the Christian faith, the challenge is to let Jesus change us, day by day, piece by piece, until we become all we were intended to be.
Even the iPhone 5 can’t do that.
By Russ Bravo, the editor of Inspire magazine (www.inspiremagazine.org.uk), produced by Worthing-based publisher CPO (www.cpo.org.uk). He is part of St Matthew’s Church, Tarring and runs Matt’s Comedy Club (www.youtube.com/mattscomedyclub), hosts of last week’s Worthing Comedy Festival.