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"Tug on anything at all and you'll find it connected to everything else in the universe."

John Muir

Except for my computer.

Living outside the city limits creates the need to look for alternatives to connectivity, since cable modems or DSL are not among the options. (Actually, it creates the need to look for alternatives to the fire trucks and ambulances, but I'll get back to that.) We tried an ISDN line for a while, but on more than one occasion the connection box at the street was mowed down by an over-zealous county employee.

In an attempt to upgrade, we had an MCI technician come out to test our location for their cool, wireless broadband service, but it required a 30 mile line-of-site to a tower in downtown Kansas City, and, well, there was a tree or two in the way.

The final option was the satellite dish we currently use—or at least try to use when the sky is not too cloudy, or sunspots are not too active, or snow hasn't piled up on the dish, or other customers aren't actually trying to connect at the same time. If our marriage was anything like our internet connection, we would need to re-introduce ourselves every time we spoke.

Unfortunately, emergency services in our neighborhood are alot like our internet connection. When our neighbors Ron and Becky were building their house, Becky fell nearly two stories from an extension ladder and landed on her back in the front yard. Without a phone line or another house within shouting distance, Ron ran quite a ways to use a neighbor's phone and request an ambulance ASAP. Becky was on the ground for forty-five minutes with broken bones and a punctured lung before the paramedics arrived.

This could have been related to the fact that while, technically, our street has a name, there are no street signs to reveal it, and that recently the county decided to renumber the addresses, and actually assigned the numbers out of sequence. Becky was fine, but the lower property taxes have lost some of their appeal.

The concept of "connected" did not originate with the digital age of course, and technology creates disconnects at least as often as it brings together. If God built connectivity into the universe, then man has done more to pull the plug than to expand the network.

Years ago, one of the fist successful online communities, known as The Well, collectively decided that they should try to meet in real life to expand their relationships. The gathering occurred, but a number of computers were in the room, and gradually the event devolved into small groups of people crowded around each computer monitor, describing the event to other members of the community.

Digital connections are never uncomfortable, and rarely deep. Real connections are sometimes uncomfortable, but give God a place to be present. Networks will never replace God's work in bringing us together.

Case in point: our daughter called yesterday on her cell phone to let us know when she was coming home for the holidays. She was saying something about how great it will be for the whole family to be together, but we lost the connection.

December 16, 2004 | Permalink


Thanks for Blogmarking me! I love your site. Great graphics.

Posted by: Nickie Goomba on Dec 28, 2004 11:23:51 PM

Funny how our society is spending more, and more time interacting in other ways than one on one. And then we find surprisingly that we are still lonely.

Posted by: Ish on Apr 7, 2005 9:13:46 AM

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