Sticks & Chisels 2.2

This time of year here in western Nebraska usually brings with it some adverse weather. The weather app on my dashboard is telling me it’s cold enough to keep Lassie inside even if Timmy was dumb enough to fall into another hole. It’s up to about 11 degrees this afternoon and will be 20 below tonight. Last night, we had several inches of snow blow in and blow around and just generally blow all night long.

The technical term for all this cold, snowy iciness: winter.

We like to pretend it’s a surprising annoyance, but it’s pretty much like this EVERY year. Days without a clear sky or a non-icy surface street… cold, cold, and more cold… fresh clean blankets of snow slowly coagulating into a slushy, muddy mess… This is winter. In a lot of places, these kinds of conditions would be paralyzing. Here, we bundle up and kick winter in the teeth.

It’s not because we’re so tough and ready to fight anything – you’ll hear more than an earful of whining today, I’m sure about how this or that should have been cancelled and how the piles of snow are so inconveniently placed. Actually, we owe a lot to the technologies that allow us to keep going when everything around us is frozen. Road sanders, salt trucks, plows, snow shovels, gloves and coats, well insulated buildings, furnaces, boilers…

Frozen fountain in Tucson!

This has all led me to thinking about the usefulness of various technology. These technologies that are so useful for a west Nebraska winter are mostly useless in Palm Springs (where it is currently 66 degrees if you’re interested). What would you do with a snow plow in Galveston?

In ministry, we’re often quick to jump on technology bandwagons (when budgets allow of course). We see technologies put into use and quickly try to find a way we can justify the shiny, new, light-blinking system for whatever it is that we weren’t doing before. Maybe we need to slow down and think about context – is the tool useful? Is it useful, HERE?

I ask this as someone who likes new technologies. I’m not the best capacitor on the motherboard when it comes to all the new technological developments, but I do like discovering something useful that wasn’t available before. But I don’t want to try to force things to be useful. If the technology is more work than its capacity for being productive, that kind of misses the point, doesn’t it?

Then again, this picture was taken last week by my brother in Tucson. Maybe I should send him a snow shovel, just in case…

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