In general, I’m pretty down with change. I mean, honestly, I wouldn’t have survived the past 20 years of marriage if I wasn’t. There are a few reasons I don’t mind change, I think.
- I’m passionately optimistic (like Ted Lasso).
- I don’t usually see the downside of anything immediately.
- I have a low need for security.
These characteristics, of course, have pros and cons. While I’m easy-going about whatever life-change Brian has in mind for us next, I also have a hard time understanding why we need insurance, warranties, or a savings account. Before you get started commenting on all the reasons this attitude is naive and idiotic, I know…age and wisdom have helped me think a little differently about things like this, but I admit deep-down I still wonder, wouldn’t that money be better spent on houseplants?
Technology Resistance Since Mario Brothers
All of this zen-like attitude flies out the window when it comes to technology. I’ve been resistant to changing technology my whole life. When I was a kid, we got an NES (Nintendo) for Christmas. Mario Brothers were fun for a little while, but I was terrible at it, so I would just read while my brother and sister played. Only a year or two later, we got a Sega Genesis, and I remember feeling a slight confusion…but we already have a video game system! Ecco the Dolphin got me pretty excited, but that didn’t last long either. I’d rather watch Free Willy. What systems came after that I have no idea, because I could not be lured away from My So-Called Life.
Fast-forward to raising our son, Ashton. I feel like I’ve been fighting the wave of technological encroachment since he was a toddler. At that time, we didn’t have smartphones with games and videos, so at least that wasn’t a concern, but between TV, DVDs, and video games, I felt like my life was being run by parental controls, time limits, and fights about all of it. Then he was given his first Kindle Fire when he was 6. Handheld technology took my resistance to a whole new level, because I could see how hard it would be to monitor what he was seeing, what he was doing, how long he spent on it, where he took it, etc. And this change aversion doesn’t just center around Ashton. My blood runs cold when Brian says something like, “I think it’s time you got a new phone…” I’m pretty sure we got in a fight when he tried to pry my super-slow broke-down Dell laptop from my hands. And then I found out Apple uses a whole different operating system than PCs. Are you kidding?! I’m like Lorelai Gilmore with her Jeep: I just like the one I have. This will be no surprise to you, but by now I’m hopelessly behind the times. I don’t have an Apple Watch, glasses that take pictures, or AirPods (I had to Google what these are called. I usually call them iPods or EarPods 😂) I turned off the press-release video of Mark Zuckerberg talking about the Metaverse saying, “I know where this is going…I’ve read Ready Player One.”
The Opportunity To Help People
All that to say this- even I realize we have an opportunity in virtual reality. I know there’s a range of feelings about the whole thing, and some people are straight up afraid of what it could turn into. I get that. Look at the internet- sometimes it surprises me that something I use every day with almost automatic ease can also ruin a life…but, wait. That’s not quite accurate. Isn’t it the way a person chooses to use it that can ruin their life? Can’t you ruin your life with just about anything? Can’t even good things like food, sex, or solitude become a god to us? I see things like the internet, social media, virtual reality, etc., as neither good nor bad, but a medium to be used to reach hurting people with the Gospel. Just as there are people who escape their everyday lives by immersing themselves in TV, the internet, or Facebook, there are people who have made the Good News available there too. Does your salvation story include hearing from God through the radio, a CD, a TV show, or a Facebook post? Someone who loves Jesus had to be there before you to make that seed available. That’s how I feel about the Metaverse.
People who love Jesus have to understand what’s happening in the Metaverse and make sure the Gospel is available to people who will not step in a church and may never be open to a conversation with a believer. That’s not to say every believer should be in a headset…not at all. That’s the beauty of the church being the body of Christ. We all have a part to play in His big story. We have different passions, different convictions, and different strengths and weaknesses. Like any other medium, we need to be wise and discerning; we need accountability and guardrails. But we can’t be afraid to step into the unknown.