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A certain poem has been making the rounds whose underlying tone seems to suggest that computers and faith don't mix. It's titled:

Did Jesus Use a Modem?

I recently received the poem again from a friend. Below is the poem and after that is the response I wrote her titled: "Yes, as a matter of fact, Jesus did use a modem."

 The Poem
> Did Jesus use a modem,
> At the Sermon on the Mount?
> Did He ever try a broadcast fax,
> To send His message out?
> Did the disciples carry beepers,
> As they went about their route?
> Did Jesus use a modem,
> At the Sermon on the Mount?
>
> Did Paul use a Laptop,
> With lots of RAM and ROM?
> Were the Epistles posted on a Website,
> At Paul.Rome.Com?
> Did the man from Macedonia,
> Send an E-Mail saying "Come?"
> Did Paul use a Laptop,
> With lots of RAM and ROM?
>
> Did Moses use a joystick,
> At the parting of the Sea?
> And a Satellite Guidance Tracking System,
> To show him where to be?
> Did he write the law on tablets,
> Or are they really on CD?
> Did Moses use a joystick,
> At the parting of the Sea?

 

continued...

> Did Jesus really die for us,
> One day upon a tree?
> Or was it just a Hologram,
> Or Technical Wizardry?
> Can you download the Live Action Video Clip,
> To play on your PC?
> Did Jesus really die for us,
> One day upon a tree?
>
> Have the wonders of this modern age,
> Made you question what is true?
> How a single man, in a simple time,
> Could offer life anew?
> How a sinless life, a cruel death,
> Then a glorious life again,
> Could offer more to a desperate world,
> Than all the inventions of man?
>
> If in your life, the voice of God,
> Is sometimes hard to hear.
> With all the other voices calling,
> His doesn't touch your ear.
> Then set aside your laptop and modem,
> And all your fancy gear.
> And open your Bible, open your heart,
> And let your Father draw near.


Yes, as a matter of fact, Jesus DID use a Modem

by Neil MacQueen

Thank you _______ for sharing the poem, "Did Jesus Use a Modem."

As a matter of fact he did --or what at least passed for a modem back then.

Everytime you read that Jesus taught at the Temple --he was actually standing at the outer steps of the Temple where teachers spoke to folks gathered at the local marketplace --or what we today call the MALL. Jesus went to where the people were. Jerusalem On Line (or in line). Now that's what I call broadcasting. How about you?

When Jesus heals the person let down through the roof, he was in a chat room so packed the person's friends had to "hack" their way in. Jesus heals and it must have been quite a spectacular new fangled occurence for those simple folk.

When Jesus delivers his sermon on the mount, he is doing it by the main road leading to Capernaum from Tiberias ---what passed for the "information superhighway" back then. Jesus was no dummy. He wanted to be heard and so often strategically located himself. Remember when he got in the boat to preach? What a wonderful background graphic he created!

Would Jesus think of using a new medium? Yes--and he did. Instead of preaching in the synagogue he used mud on Bartimaeus and sat by a well to talk about Living Water.When Jesus said, "you have heard it said, but now I tell you...." he is speaking in a new way and through a new medium --himself.

Jesus was the new way, the Pharisees the old. They didn't like this uncontrollable man who was his own medium for THE message,....so they shut him down. God, however, booted him right back up. "Simple times," they were not.

And yes, even Jesus' death WAS vivid techno-color wizardry. The sky was dark and the ground shook and the curtain was torn in two. Quite a video clip, I'd say, ...and with surround sound! (Vivid and Video come from the same root word by the way).

Jesus probably didn't own any books (or scrolls). He couldn't do as the poem suggests: "open your Bible and open your heart." The one time he did open a scroll they tried to throw him over a cliff (are books dangerous?). He didn't carry a bookcase from town to town yet he managed to teach and encounter God. Moses found God in a burning bush. Talk about your attractions! And how about Moses' trick-stick? If you were a Hebrew, that stick not only brought you joy (as in joystick), it saved your butt. What's wrong with fantastic devices? The Bible is full of them. (My favorite being the floating axe head.)

Jesus wasn't a monk (although many now use modems and have pages on the Internet). Rather than succumb to the poetic life of idyllic contemplation, Jesus rambled and roamed the countryside. He interfaced with people in the middle of what your poem calls "distractions" --the woman tugging at his clothes, the ranting man in the graveyard, the children climbing up his knee. "Let the children come to me," he said to his disciples, --a group who was trying to pull the plug on those darn distracting kids. Jesus said, "The Kingdom of God belongs more to them than to you contemplative types."

Can God be encountered amid all the multimedia? Actually...I'm not sure he can do it any other way! He has no other choice but to be virtually present (or "vicariously" present as we say in the Church).

Can God speak through an electronic medium?

Did Jesus use a Modem? Yep, I think he did ...and still does.

Here's to new wine in new wineskins.


P.S. Paul's letters spanned and "spammed" the Roman world too. His words were cut, pasted and posted to more church sites than anybody else's. His modem was a teenager named Timothy and a guy named Barnabas who could type a lot faster than Paul could. The next time you appreciate a stained glass window dancing with light, remember what you're looking at --a multimedia icon created in love for a biblically illiterate society.

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