“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth: you shall meditate on it day and night; so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it.  For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful.”
Joshua 1:8

Many look up to David Galernter as a sage and one of our nation’s most provocative thinkers.  He is professor of computer science at Yale University and hailed by The New York Times as “a computer rock star”.  Besides being one of the world’s leading computer scientists he holds advanced degrees in Classical Hebrew and combines ancient moral wisdom with avant-garde technology.  He got my attention in his article, “What We Should Be Worried About”, in which he worries about “Internet drivel”.  He laments the devaluing effect of superfluous Internet data flooding the public:

If we have a million photos, we tend to value each one less than if we only had ten.  The Internet forces a general devaluation of the written word: a global deflation in the average word’s value on many axes…The Internet’s insatiable demand for word creates a global deflation in the value of words.

This is a computer scientist, and one of the first to foresee the World Wide Web, who frets:

The Internet drivel can’t be good – and is almost certain to grow in importance as the world fills gradually with people who have spent their whole lives glued to their iToys.

I am sobered by what Galernter describes as this “devaluation of words”, and like him, I worry about The Word.  This is an echo of what worried Nobel laureate T. S. Eliot two generations ago worried about in his poem “The Rock”: “ignorance of the Word…wisdom lost in knowledge…knowledge lost in information.”

It is estimated that the total body of knowledge doubled between A. D. 1 and 1500.  It doubled again in the 300 years between 1500 and 1800, and doubled again between 1800 and 1900.  Today it is estimated that the total body of knowledge doubles every one to two years, and by 2020 will double every 72 days.

Yet have we grown any in wisdom?  Grown in happiness?  Or compassion?  It doesn’t seem so.  Don’t get me wrong!  I don’t want to turn back the clock on the Internet.  But I do want my computer and Internet connection to serve me rather than me serving them.

As I thought about David Galernter’s musings, and his love for the Hebrew Scriptures, I thought about the ancient but contemporary wisdom in the Hebrew Scripture at the top of the page:

This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth: you shall meditate on it day and night; so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it.  For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful.

There is nothing new here.  But when it comes to moral wisdom, if its new it isn’t true, and if its true it isn’t new.  In these timeless words God commands that His book of the law, or His instruction, “shall not depart out of your mouth”.  For God’s moral instruction to always be in our mouth, it first has to be in our hearts.

It’s old ‘school Bible’ memorization that downloads God’s wisdom into us.  Yes, I can always look up a passage on my smart phone, but the passage needs to be in my heart.  That’s where I will get wisdom, that’s where I will find true success.

But that will require four things of us that are counter-cultural and swimming against the tide.  They are:

  1. silence
  2. solitude
  3. Bible
  4. meditation

They say it is good for our computers to turn them off for a while every day; and I know that its good for me.  And when I turn off my computer for a while, I can make time for some silencesolitudeBiblemeditation.   If I read David Galernter right, downloading God’s Word means I won’t be lost in words.

Grace and peace,
Tim

photo by Ben

 

WAITING SILENTLY FOR GOD

On September 22, 2014 By

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall never be shaken.
Psalm 62:1-2

It seems that life is filled with waiting.  There is waiting in the checkout line, doctor’s office, airport terminal, [...]

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MUSHROOM SPIRITUALITY

On September 15, 2014 By

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
II Peter 3:18

On recent walks through the woods of northern Minnesota, my wife Rita and I have contracted a virulent strain of phileomycelium.  As far as I know there is no cure for this “love [...]

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AUTUMN MEDITATIONS

On September 8, 2014 By

“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years.’”
Genesis 1:14

“For everything there is a season.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1

“They yield their [...]

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THE PURPOSE-FULL LIFE

On September 1, 2014 By

“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.’”
Genesis 1:26

“Why daddy?” “Why?” “But why?”  It starts early, our quest for purpose and meaning, our longing to understand.  Perhaps it’s the philosopher in my little granddaughter in her daily litany of “why this?” and [...]

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HERE’S WHAT WE CAN DO!

On August 25, 2014 By

One of my brothers, Hanani, came with certain men from Judah; and I asked them about the Jews that survived, those who had escaped the captivity, and about Jerusalem.  They replied, ‘The survivors there in the province who escaped captivity are in great trouble and shame; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, [...]

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Dear Friends,

In place of my weekly eVotional in which I reflect on Scripture and life, I am linking you to our conversation last week in The Living Room: Exploring the Mystery We Call God.  Each week Henry Rojas, Art Brooks and I talk on this Internet radio program about Christian [...]

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DON’T LOSE HEART!

On August 11, 2014 By

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.   For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure,  because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot [...]

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I AM CHRISTIAN!

On August 4, 2014 By

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.
Hebrews 13:1-3

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EUCATASTROPHE

On July 28, 2014 By

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to [...]

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