Rage Against Machines

We created the machines because we were tired of working so hard.

The Goal: machines do work for us.
The Benefit: more leisure, increased productivity/efficiency.

It probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but it’s lead to some unforeseen consequences.  The first seems to be what I call “robot paranoia”.

Whenever I watch a futuristic sci-fi movie there seems to be a common theme about machines taking over and wiping out humanity.  I think that this is really a terrible concept, not because it’s far fetched, but because it’s too late.

The robots are already in charge.

The first place that the machines have taken is the airport restroom.  Remember the ‘90’s when you could flush your own toilet?  Now a machine takes care of this taxing chore for us.  In fact the robo-toilet flushes the moment you open the stall door.  It flushes again when you turn around to lock the door, but the worst flush comes as you sit down and your carefully laid out wax paper protector gets pulled out from underneath you like the old disappearing tablecloth trick.  The only time the toilet doesn’t flush? When you need it to.  You’ll spend 10 minutes wiggling around in the stall while that little red light just blinks and blinks.

The next humiliating experience at the hands of the machines comes as you head over to the sink.  All you want is a little soap, but what you don’t know is that you’re actually getting ready to squirt a lot of soap all over the counter top.  For some reason, no matter how patient you are, the soap only gets dispensed AFTER you pull your hand away from the dispenser.

After you wipe some of the counter top soap onto your hands you need to rinse, leading to the next mechanical malfunction: putting your hands under a faucet that will never, no matter how good your jazz hands are, never release any of the water that is being carefully protected by the conserve-obots.

The only robot in the bathroom that really works is the towel dispenser which immediately starts spinning as you approach it, but nothing comes out because it works so well that it’s always empty.

There’s no place the machines grip on humanity is stronger than the health club. Follow me on this:  We invented machines to help out with manual labor, but we got dissatisfied with what the lack of activity did to the shape of our bodies.  Instead going back to work we invented new machines that simulated work that we already didn’t want to do, so we could have bodies that look like we work hard but actually don’t.

The fitness center is a place filled with real people doing pretend work but the problem isn’t the robots, it’s the humans.  We have health clubs because we want the benefits of work without actually having to do it.

Jesus confronted this same type of thinking when he was provoked by the Pharisees in Matthew chapter 12,

“Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.”

Now Jesus has already turned water to wine, restored sight to the blind, cured leprosy, and raised the dead. You’d think it wouldn’t be a problem for him to slide out another miracle. Instead he says,

“A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah…The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it….

The Pharisees wanted Jesus to do amazing things for them, but they didn’t actually want him as their master.  They wanted the benefits of Jesus without having to do the work.

Because we are so different today right?

I want to know who God is and never read my Bible. I want to know his plan for my life and never pray.  I want to be loved by Jesus and not have to make sacrifices.

In our churches we want Jesus to give us great sex lives but not tell us how to do it, bless us with money, but not tell us how to spend it, and bless the missionaries but not expect that we’ll have to host them, visit them, or give to them.

Our struggle isn’t with some external “machine” that overrides our heart; it’s with a heart that so desperately chases results that we create “machines” to short-cut processes.  We feel this way because we think that having a good life is the benefit of Christianity while forgetting that having Jesus is the actual benefit.

Until we identify Jesus as the source, process, AND the benefit of our life we will struggle to see him as our master… as opposed to a machine that doesn’t really work properly.

3 Responses to “Rage Against Machines”

  1. Keith Dart January 16, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    I love this…it was the first message I ever heard you speak at Grace Chapel before I knew Furmanifesto existed….BRILLIANT!! So blessed to have you at Willamette now bro…

  2. Mike Maxwell January 27, 2011 at 8:38 pm #

    Very entertaining Jon….make ’em laugh then hit ’em with the word…good stuff brother.

  3. Chris Nye January 31, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    so well articulated…might quote you soon.

Leave a Reply to Chris Nye

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