This morning I laced up my running shoes, plugged in my iPhone and headed out into the glorious autumn morning. My exercise coach is a lovely-sounding British woman. Her voice guides me through the iTunes app, C25K; from the couch to 5 km. Her voice cut through my play-list of faves, encouraging me at five minute intervals. The tunes distracted me from the hard work of the run, and my mind let loose.
I began to think of Steve Jobs, and of the many gifts he left to the world. I`m a techno-geek. We were one of the first families in town to get hooked up to the internet many years ago. Remember the squeeling modems? We joked that they were aliens! I`ve gone through several computers since, both desk-tops and lap-tops. I`ve gone from learning DOS to coded WordPerfect to the WYSIWYG screens of Windows. Too many Windows versions later, I`ve vowed that my next computer will be a Mac. Presently, I`m having a major love affair with my new iPad2. (Where have you been all my life, you sweet thing?!)
I don`t take technology for granted. I marvel at the genius minds behind each piece of hardware and software. I am aware that the riches available to me are not available to all. But slowly and surely, these technological advances are becoming more and more accessible around the world.
Advances in social media and personal communications have given a voice to women and men on a local and global level. In the Catholic Church, much has been made of recent Papal forays into the internet. The Vatican uses web-sites, YouTube and Twitter accounts. Creative use of media is encouraged in the new evangelization. Communities of communities are formed around the world via email, Facebook and Skype. The blogging community promotes dialogues on issues that not only give Church leaders a pulse from the grass-roots, but also holds those same leaders accountable when necessary. The people of God have a voice, and its being heard.
But what about religions that intentionally close themselves off from the world and its technological advances? How do they communicate beyond their small circles? How do they promote dialogue among themselves and with the world? Do their members have an opportunity to speak and be heard? Their lives may be simpler, but will their life-styles stand the test of time in this fast-paced world? I know that there is an inner beauty in their life-style choice, but I`m happy to be where I am.
My run had come to an end, and I slowed down for the 5 minute cool-down walk; still pondering. Just minutes from my home, I came across this Amish wagon. Seriously!! The horses were tied to adjacent trees. The owners were probably in town for a shopping trip.
A perfect photo-op for my iPhone.
Thank you Steve Jobs. You may be gone, but the gift of your genius remains. May eternal peace be yours.