Technology makes us stronger when we use cars to go faster than we might otherwise. Technology makes us smarter when we use Google to access vast troves of human knowledge at any time. In Luke 10, Jesus calls us to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Can we love God with our technologies, too?
When God tells Adam to “cultivate” the garden of Eden, the Hebrew word assumes the use of tools. What is technology if not an increasingly complex set of tools? So, Adam may have used a shovel, a simple tool, a basic technology, and it would have been good.
There are thousands of years between a stone age shovel and a smartphone. But technology is an idea that encompasses both the shovel and the phone, combining two Greek words—tekhnē, which means “art” or “craft,” with logia, “the study of.”
As the son of a carpenter, Jesus was a tekton, or skilled worker. You could say Jesus was a first century technologist.
We don’t consider certain things to be technology at all. (Alan Kay, the Atari and Apple pioneer, has said technology is “any thing that was invented after you were born.”) Trucks always had a presence in the Canyon. The buildings always had electricity and running water. Climbing gear is a kind of technology. Music can add excitement and energy during Roundup or Cody Center concerts, and maybe the music even highlights the stillness when instruments and mics fall silent.
Screens at the Great Hall or in a Roundup pavilion can focus and unify the group to watch a “Did You Know?” video or read Scripture together or sing together.
Yet it remains true that some uses of technology tend to isolate guests from each other and their environment or, at best, separate them into isolated groups. So part of the job of being a camp or retreat director will be to make wise decisions about technology—where it is off limits, where it is good, where it adds, where it detracts.
“Outside of LLYC,” Tom says, “there’s nothing wrong with linking up your phones and playing games sometimes. But you can do that anywhere.”
What you can’t do anywhere is put down your phone and jump in the river at Pebble Beach.