Four Questions of Technology – Applied


I picked up Shane Hipps, The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture:  How Media Shapes Faith, the Gospel and the Church this morning.  It is a “new to me” book, published in 2005. If you think I’m going to be full of technologically-savy wisdom this morning, you might be disappointed. But, there are four important technology-related questions starting my day. These four questions address the impact any new medium has on our lives. The four questions are:

1)     What does the medium extend?

2)     What does the medium make obsolete?

3)     What does the medium reverse into?

4)     What does the medium retrieve?

Waking up this morning to the sound of snow shovel scraping the ground, I pulled the covers over my head and thought, “It snowed again?” For the third time in less than a week, Cincinnati has received enough snow to shovel.  In warmer climates, shoveling snow is like riding a horse and carriage to work.  It’s a completely foreign experience. In colder climates, you are thinking, where the heck is your snow blower?

I live at the top of a hill, with a steep drive.  Today, I am wishing I had a snow blower.  Snow, ice and any mix of the two make for an adventure (or perhaps a comedy if you are watching me clear my drive). Shoveling my drive is a test of my ability to stay upright. So in an effort to avoid shoveling the snow, here is my tongue-in-check response to the above questions about the medium of a snow blower:

1)     What does a snow blower extend?  My arms, hands, back, legs, body.   The shovel I don’t want to lift.

2)     What does a snow blower make obsolete? Advil, trips to the ER, or being confined to the house if I soon don’t put on the hat, gloves, coat and get outside to shovel.

3)     What does a snow blower reverse into?  An adult snow fight?  A not-so-friendly neighborly contest of “get your snow off my drive.” No, maybe an out-of-control snowblower reverses into a DVR stuck on repeat of the 30 minute jolly “Frosty the Snowman” animated flick from the 1950s (or was it 70s?)

4)     What does this medium retrieve?  The child in all of us who built snow forts, snowmen, or fell into the fresh snow to make snow angels.  It calls us back to making slopes to sled down. It is after all, almost the “most wonderful time of the year”

In other words, Cincinnati, enjoy the snow!

Ok, enough procrastinating.  Time to go shovel.