Archives for posts with tag: technology

In my quieter moments I realize how blessed I am. When I think about it I marvel at the richness of my life. Each year has grown better than the last.

On this National Day of Thanksgiving there are more things to be thankful for than I can begin to imagine but below are a few.

I AM THANKFUL FOR…

A warm and dry place to sleep at night.

A safe neighborhood.

Good friends.

My good wife of 50 years (come December 28).

My three wonderful children and their equally wonderful spouses.

My two exceptional grandchildren.

The call of God on my life and God’s willingness to let me serve in the Church.

The opportunity to learn from my mistakes.

The privilege and freedom to vote.

People who allow me to disagree with them without demonizing me.

Teachers.

Clean water.

Retirement.

Good health.

Freedom of religion.

A good sermon- and I hear one every Sunday at my church.

A good church choir- and I hear one every Sunday at my church.

The opportunity to travel and experience this great big wonderful world.

The amazing advances in modern medicine.

Music that entertains, inspires, and instructs.

Technology- when it works.

A reliable automobile that gets me where I want to go.

Folks who do what they say they will do when they say they will do it.

People who say “You’re welcome” instead of “No problem” when I say “Thank you.”

Ice cream.

A winning season for the Braves and Atlanta United.

Coffee in the morning.

Volunteers who serve with no expectation of reward.

The forgiveness of my sins and the grace of God to keep on forgiving.

The following Prayer of Thanksgiving was offered during last Sunday’s worship service. I share it with you today.

Gracious God, creator of all things, you have given us much to be thankful for: this place of worship, the blessings of this day, the world around us.

Apart from you we can do nothing. With you we can do everything. By the power of your Holy Spirit we live and serve you at home, at work, and at play.

We remember how much we have, in the face of a world that says we need more. We are reminded of your graciousness as we see those who go without. Yet in the face of little, you give us much.

The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Give us the courage and the strength to put our hands to plow your fields. As we do, help us to remember the laborers who first shared with us the Good News.

As we prepare to gather with family to give thanks and feast upon the blessing s of a day set apart for rest, Bread of Heaven, Water of Life, fill us until we want for nothing. Pour out yourself for us. Let us take, eat, and see that the Lord is good.

With grateful hearts we give thanks. Amen.

Jamie Jenkins

 

I am going to tell you something about which I know very little. If you want to stop reading now, I understand.

Recently we had some water damage that required moving everything in our home office. Desk, bookcases, and the contents of a closet had to be relocated. It was an inconvenience but we managed alright.

The biggest problem was disconnecting all the electronics that we depend on. This involved our computer and related equipment. We have a wireless network that requires a modem and router. Additionally, our phones are connected through a device that routes our calls over the internet. This allows us to have a “home” phone without the high monthly expense that usually accompany it.

I also have a desktop device into which I scan receipts, business cards, and other documents and it stores them in digital files. Complicating matters even more is the fact that the cell phone reception in our house is abysmal without a device called a Microcell. This device furnished by our cell phone provider boosts the frequency to allow use of mobile phones inside the house.

You have probably concluded from my explanation above that I am somewhat technologically impaired. Nevertheless I managed to move all this equipment and maintain functionality over a several week period while the damaged flooring and walls were repaired.

Then came the happy day that all the repairs were completed and we could put everything back in place. It was going to be a bit of work but I had done so well with moving everything without losing connectivity. I was not worried. I should have been!

The web of gadgets, wires, USB ports, Ethernet cables, coaxial cables, power supplies and connections to a modem, router, CPU, monitor, etc. complicated by multiple user names and passwords presented quite a challenge. Eventually everything was reconnected properly but I could not get connection to the internet. After calling my ISP (I threw that in just to appear smarter than I am), the customer support person on the phone told me her equipment showed that I had a strong signal. She could not understand why I was not connected. The only thing left was to schedule a technician to come to my house. After agreeing to a time for the on-site tech support I hung up the phone and stomped around the house (this was not the first time during this process) in complete frustration.

Despair Alone Being Alone Archetype Archet

After a while of fussing and fuming I realized that there was one thing I had not done. What harm could it do? Maybe it would work. So I re-booted my computer. Turned it off, waited 20 seconds and then turned it back on. Voila! I am a genius! Everything began to work exactly as it should.

Photo of Reboot - Buena Park, CA, United States. Logo

Later (much later) I realized that the same thing probably happens in life, not just with electronics. Problems arise. Difficulties come. All my efforts fail to produce the desired results. Frustration sets in and I behave in very unseemly ways. I try everything I know and things don’t get better. The harder I try the more negative feelings take over. Why can’t I learn to stop? Step away. Shut down. Re-boot.

Sometimes you just need to get away from it all. That might mean a vacation or just going outside for a walk or a quiet moment. Disengaging from the task at hand can clear your mind and calm your nerves. Simply taking a break can give a different perspective and help to maintain or regain balance in one’s life.

When things are not going well, the psalmist encourages us to “be still,” to “quiet down before God (and) be prayerful before him” (Psalm 37:7). Re-boot!

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

 

As I write this I have been without television, internet, and phone service for 7 days. No Braves baseball, no webcam with the grandkids, no email, and no phone calls. Communication with the outside world has been cut off- unless I leave the house and go somewhere that has wifi.

apple, coffee, computer

It is a long story but the simple explanation is that a week ago we experienced a power surge at our home that disrupted normal life. The culprit was an underground device that regulates the voltage coming into the house. Light bulbs broke, one light fixture exploded, the oven quit working, two air condition units ceased cooling, my computer crashed, the internet router died, the coffee maker is dead, and a few other minor problems occurred.

No Power Words Electrical Cord Outlet Electricity Outage Stock Image

The internet service provider is supposed to be here tomorrow- the fourth one that has paid us a visit. I am hopeful that everything will be back to normal by the time you read this. But who knows.

This has been a frustrating week. Yeah! It has been a stark reminder of how much we/I depend on technology to be able to stay in touch and how helpless I feel when the devices fail.

Pen and paper

I don’t use pen and paper as often as I did in the “olden days.” So simple things like preparing a Sunday School lesson, a funeral eulogy, and writing a letter seemed almost impossible. My research for a series of upcoming classes was locked away in the metal box that houses the hard drive of my computer. It was complicated to make an appointment for service personnel to assess the damage and make repairs.

Concept Or Conceptual Abstract Word Cloud Stock Image

Under the best of circumstances communication is complicated. Words have different meanings to different people and at different times. Tone of voice, facial expressions, body language, environment, and a myriad of other factors make it difficult for accurate information and feelings to be shared. Effective communication is extremely important and incredibly complex.

Talk to God though short little prayers

I am glad that communication with God is not that hard. You don’t need any devices. Sometimes not even words (Romans 8:26). Our thoughts and intentions are known by God (Acts 15:8) so we don’t have to learn any technique or a new language. We can have confidence that our prayers are heard and, when offered with faith, are answered (Matthew 21:22).

 

The lyrics of an old gospel song has a simple message about how to communicate with God. “Jesus on the mainline, tell him what you want” suggests that the Lord is “on call” and you could just relay your needs to Him. Simple, huh?

Black Rotary Telephone at Top of Gray Surface

Although all our conversations with God should not be about “what we want,” talking to God is that easy. We can use our everyday vocabulary because God understands our language.

However we do it, we need to stay in touch with each other and with God.

Jamie Jenkins

Safety officials and medical professionals report that pedestrian accidents are becoming more common leaving many people with bruises and lacerations. This phenomenon is not the result of encounters with automobiles but with other pedestrians. As more folks are walking without looking where they are going collisions occur frequently on the sidewalks and in shopping malls.

texting-662x0_q70_crop-scale

The increased use of hand held devices have increased the likelihood that people bump into each other more often. Serious, and not so serious, injuries are on the rise. A recent three-person accident on a busy sidewalk resulted in the one of the most serious incidents. A young man playing Pokemon Go collided with a woman talking on her cell phone and a couple who were taking a selfie. Each of the injured blamed the others for being careless.

635718218908694627-1525839627_textneck-imgopt1000x70

The Washington Post recently carried a story about another fairly new health hazard. It reported that “text neck is becoming an epidemic and could wreck your spine.” According to a study published in Surgical Technology International, when the neck bends forward the weight of the human head on the cervical spine increases. This is the burden that comes with staring at a smartphone which millions of people do for hours every day.

maxresdefault

According to research published in the National Library of Medicine, Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, says “the poor posture can lead to early wear-and-tear on the spine, degeneration, and even surgery.”

A national chain of physical therapy clinics reports that more teens than ever are complaining of “text neck,” or back and neck pain that can only be explained by the strain on the body caused by constant viewing of hand-held technology. “We have teens experiencing the same shoulder, neck and back pain usually felt by people 30 years older,” said physical therapist Megan Randich.

One of the two stories above is an exaggerated fabrication to call attention to our attachment (addiction?) to portable technology. The other is a factual report of a medical issue that is fairly new among us. You can verify the authenticity of the information on “text neck” and you can only imagine that the reported pedestrian collisions are only slightly theoretical.

The intent of this writing is not to emphasize the negative aspect of technology. My purpose is simply to accent the potential downside to the wonderful advantages of cellphones, tablets and other devices. There are many pros and cons to technology, like almost anything else. Even things that are essential to life (food, exercise, etc.) can be abused and in excess can be harmful. Rest and relaxation, meditation and introspection are as important as our physical activity and human interaction. The real issue is balance. To take advantage of the positive elements and minimize or avoid extremes.

conceito-do-trabalho-da-fc3a9-40931129

That which is true for physical and mental health is also valid for our spiritual life. We need a balance of belief and action- faith and works (James 2:14-17). What we believe is important but it needs to be balanced by our actions. Whether it is in our service to others or our own self-care, moderation/balance is essential if we are to lead wholesome and holy lives.

sijill109h

Jamie Jenkins

 

Change 4

I don’t like change.

I am comfortable starting my day pretty much the same way all the time, or at least most of the time. An occasional break from routine is good but before long I want things to get back to normal.

I know that change is sometimes necessary but most of the time I resist it. Once you find a way to do something, why change it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Why mess with something that works? That is the way I am wired, but I realize that my way of doing things is not always the best or only way.

John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” I understand that. It’s just that I am comfortable with most things the way they are. At the same time I understand that progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

 

Change

Although I don’t like change, I am willing, with some reluctance, to alter my routine and try something new. After a while I can even embrace change but it is not easy.

I mentioned in one of my previous writings that I recently acquired an electric vehicle (EV). It is quite different from an internal combustion engine (ICE) automobile in many ways. I was a bit skeptical at first but after almost three months and 2400 miles (with no gasoline) I have been converted. I have come to really enjoy the quiet and comfortable ride. And contrary to what many people think, it is a real car with plenty “get-up-and-go.” I have also contributed to better air quality because it has no emissions.

For several years I have paid my bills electronically through the bank’s online bill pay service. No stamps or envelopes to buy. No checkbook. Beginning in 2015 my church pledge will be charged to my credit card.

In 1925 Mayor Walter A. Sims leased an abandoned auto racetrack and committed the city of Atlanta to develop it into an airfield. The 287 acres of land was renamed Candler Field after its former owner’s family, including Coca-Cola magnate Asa Candler. That was the first step that led to Atlanta becoming a major transportation hub. Today it is home to the world’s busiest airport.

Change 3

I am grateful for the ability to hop on an airplane in Atlanta and go just about anywhere in the world. How else could I visit my grandchildren, and their parents, on the other side of the globe.

My son reminds me that I once said we would never have a cell phone. Why did we need to be able to talk on the phone from anywhere at anytime. Later I succumbed to the advanced technology and purchased my first “bag phone” that was about the size of a small briefcase. And today I won’t leave home without my “smart phone” in my pocket.

Although most of my retail purchases are transacted in a brick and mortar business, I have done my share of shopping online. In fact, with the last four cars purchased I went to the automobile dealer’s showroom only to sign paperwork and pick up the vehicle. Research and negotiation was all done online or by phone.

Email, text messaging and webcams which are a regular part of my routine could hardly have been imagined when I bought my first computer, a Commodore 64. The first video game was Pong, a far cry for the realistic graphics in today’s video arcade.

Just last night I had a conversation with my thirty-two year old son about Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, and Crackle. If I understood it , I would explain it to you. The digital age has transformed the way we work, play, and relate to each other. It offers far more than I can comprehend.

With all the advances in technology and the changes they bring to our everyday life, I am grateful for the words of the Statement of Faith of the United Church of Canada: “We are not alone, we live in God’s world. We believe in God who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit. We trust in God.”

We are not alone. We live in God’s world. We trust in God the Creator and Sustainer of all that is good.

Change. Scary. Hopeful.

Jamie Jenkins