Wednesday, April 21, 2010


It's amazing where my mind will wander during church. Not that I don't pay attention. Just that some lyric during worship or some statement during a sermon will send my brain on a crazy rabbit trail.

For example: "God is not an add on."

I work in the technology field, so I immediately began thinking of iPhones (*There's an app for that*) and applications and add-ons and program suites and the like. And then it struck me, God is not an add-on, but maybe our faith requires patches and updates.

Let me explain. Have you ever had iTunes open, and that little screen pops up and tells you that there are new things available to download? 1) You have to have iTunes open for it to scan and recognize there's something missing. 2) Seeing the pop-up is step one. You have to actively engage and click for the update to install.

Security programs have similar things. They're called "security patches." Because while a program may completely comprehensive (I know that's with it.), there are constantly new viruses and threats being developed by 'bad guys.' When the 'good guys' find stuff like that, they'll write some new code that combats the problem and send it out as a patch...a band-aid...a help make the security program even better. Did I lose you, or does that make sense?

God is not lacking. Neither is his truth. They are constant and full and are everything we need. But as Rob Bell might say, like art and Velvet Elvis, the way we look at it and live it out changes. The Christians of today look and act and do church differently than the Christians of 2000 years ago. (And different from when God first spoke to Abram out of the burning bush.) It's an ongoing, vibrant, living sort of relationship. I think that's a good thing.

I think trials and temptations work that way too. There's "nothing new under the sun," but old tricks take on new guises. Pride, selfishness, vanity, ways to fall to these foibles pop up all the time.

And just as technology has gotten smaller and more portable, I think the Church has gone through a similar process. The 'temple' has gone from a place to a people. I have lots of friends who have very deep and active faith lives, who don't often find themselves within the walls of a church. Churches themselves are growing big as they grow small -- returning to the idea of small groups and community and living out these principles we believe in the context of every day life.

Which makes Christians kind of like mobile technology...and we have the ultimate security suite. But in being a very mobile and busy group, it's easy to get swept up in all that we're doing and forget to reconnect to our home network. Just like computers and iTune programs, we need to connect to our network and check for new patches. Otherwise our system might be caught off-guard and infected by the newest virus that's been going around.

And we all know what happens when one computer gets infected. Before you know it your address book has been hijacked and crazy emails have been sent to everyone you know, putting people that you care about at risk because you weren't as vigilant or as careful as you should have been.

So no, God is not an add-on.  He's all you need. Finding him and downloading him into your life will change it forever. But life isn't stagnant.  It changes all the time.  And it's messy.  And temptations can be clever.  But the Holy Spirit isn't silent, the Bible is called the "living word," and we get to pursue this thing in good company.

Don't be caught off-guard. When was the last time you did a vulnerability scan and checked for an update? (And remember, seeing it is not enough. You have to download and install it too.)

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