Thursday, May 10, 2012

Connecting Dots : Google Robot Car, Journey, & Kingdom...

I'm always looking to connect dots.  On Tuesday I read THIS, an article about Google's first ROBOT CAR being licensed in NV.  The technology behind the new Google Robot Car allows for safe navigation to one's destination. 

Once you get past the cool sci-fi images in your head (think The Jetson's, Total Recall, iRobot, Minority Report, etc.), you have a new way to travel: safe and destination-bound.  Its an instant gratifying mode of transportation that eliminates the white-knuckles and attention that's required of driving, right?

But like a lot of technology (and I LOVE innovative technology!) we're working towards instant gratification - in this case destination.

Here's a few other totally random examples (and I'm really trying not to demonize any of these, but rather just point out how we're a culture of "destination.")

Facebook - when you lack true visceral community, it provides a virtual destination

Discovery/Travel Channel - I have actually heard people argue, that they don't really need to travel anymore, because they can just watch Discovery or the Travel Channel

RockBand - when you don't have the motivation, time, or finances to learn to play an instrument or take the lessons, you can simply strap on the 5 color guitar and wail away on your favorite Zepplin tunes!

Pornography - sexual intimacy without the relationship

The common missing factor I see in each of these, is the journey.  Relationships take time, energy, pain(s), and effort.  Travel requires planning, money, learning new languages and cultures, and potential dangers(s).  And intimacy requires a great deal of relationship, trust, and vulnerability.  These are all hazards of the journey.

Now going back to the Google Robot Car, we literally eliminate the journey.  Where I used to dread the night drive in the rain, the white-knuckled journey up a snowy pass in Colorado to get to a music venue in time for sound check, or the navigation it would require to make it through a big city I'd never traveled before, I can now conceivably enter my destination coordinates, sit back, and enjoy a DVD on my iPad, or have a virtual conversation via Facebook.

But I have a feeling that I'll miss the adventure and the attention it requires to participate in the journey.  I believe that it's in the journey that we really grow, and become who we were created to be.

The earth is an amazing place.  I believe that in this earth, the Kingdom of God is breaking-in all around us, and I'd hate to miss it, because I simply phoned in my coordinates.  (Ah-ha, another dot being connected)

The journey is one reason I refuse to sing "I'll Fly Away" anymore.  It's a song about leaving, being gone, hoping for the destination, and not embracing the kingdom-journey, here, now, and today.  There's harm in destination language, without being coupled with the trials of the journey.

And that, my friends is why I enjoy connecting dots.



Living on Love said...

Good stuff, bro. Good stuff.

Den said...

If we're a people of destination, then we can reach a stopping point, and that's the end of it. We might not even get to our original destination, but stop at a way station and decide that's good enough. For instance, in 1978 our family was driving from Missouri to California in the middle of March. There was a foot of snow on the ground at home, and the temperature was below freezing. We made it to Tulsa the first night. The temperature was in the fifties, and there was no snow to be seen. I was ready to just bag the rest of the trip and stay in Tulsa for a week. My wife, however, had other plans. We were going out to California to visit a good friend of hers, and we were not going to stop in Tulsa for more than the night; it was onward, westward ho! She was into the journey, as a way of reaching a better destination, while I was into just accepting second best.

So it is if we short-change ourselves in our own journeys. We know the destination we're pointed toward. We don't know exactly how we're going to get there, how long it will take, or exactly what it will be like once we arrive. If we take an easy out, then we not only miss reaching that better place - ever - but we miss the untraveled part of the journey we would otherwise have experienced. Cheap and easy is the lazy person's way, and we're called to better than that.

May we always be people of the way, the Way, peregrinatio, pilgrims on this earth. We have a homecoming waiting for us. We must walk the path to get there. Otherwise, we shall truly be eternal losers.

Ross Christopher said...

Thanks Den! Good words man.