I recently had the privilege of spending another hour with Janet Parshall on her nationally syndicated radio show In The Market. This time, we had a fascinating conversation on the role of technology in the life of the believer. I had the chance to share three amazing discoveries I’ve made while studying technology over the last five years. I also got to unpack my three-step process for learning to live authentically with our technology. We talked about the risks and benefits of modern technology and the subtle ways Big Tech is influencing culture. Get ready to think critically and biblically on this most timely issue.
Listen to the full hour here:
A few excerpts from the transcript:
Andrew McDiarmid: (03:43)
That word authentic is a powerful word. At its heart, it means of or from the author. And we know that the author of our lives is the one that created and designed us. But not everybody grasps that. Not everybody realizes that yet. And so I chose that word very carefully because I do want us to get to the heart of who we are. And believe it or not, I chose the word authentic even before I dug deeper, Janet. And so after what I found in the last five years, authentic really is where it’s at because that’s where we should be heading for, our authentic selves, as the buzzword is these days. But really, what is that?
Janet Parshall: (04:22)
Yeah. That’s exactly right. What is that? All right. So when we take a look at the work that you’ve been doing for several years, you’ve decided that we … I’m going to start first with God. Everything flows from that. So plead your case, if you would, Andrew, on how God infuses himself in the midst of our choices about technology. For some people, that’s a hard sell. For others, it’s a self-evident truth.
Andrew McDiarmid: (04:44)
Well I tell you when you realize that we serve a God of technology then it comes into focus. I was reminded of this during a recent Mother’s Day sermon. My pastor was reviewing Psalm 139 and David saying, you’re familiar with all my ways. But how does God know us that well? Better than our parents, our friends, our spouse even. Well the answer lies in versus 13 through 16 of that passage. “For you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. My frame wasn’t hidden from you when I was made in the Secret Place, when I was woven together in the depths of the Earth.” So He saw us there and He made us there before anybody else knew us.
Andrew McDiarmid: (05:27)
And I dug a little deeper into that and I found the word sākak. It’s the Hebrew word for knit in verse 13. And it means to hedge or fence about, to cover or lay over, and it also means to weave which is exactly the meaning of the word technology. And we can get into that as well. But here we are, God weaving us together. And here we are now, able to weave things together, create things, build things. And why are we doing it? We’re doing it for His glory. We’re doing it to fulfill the good works that He has set out for us to do long before we even came on the scene.
Janet Parshall: (06:06)
Yeah. Amen and amen. So I’m remiss. And let me pull back the word authentic and just linger on the word technology for a while. How do we define that word? Because you’ve found some very interesting things to take us to the Greek as well. Talk to me about this.
Andrew McDiarmid: (06:20)
Absolutely, yeah. The first exciting discovery I made about five years ago as I was starting to study all of this was that technology is actually all about us, just not in the selfish, passive, unthinking way that we often see it taking hold of us today. The word technology is the sum of the ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization. Now I thought to myself, well where do these material objects come from? The stuff we use for life?
Andrew McDiarmid: (09:05)
Sure. At the heart of the word technology is the root teks, T-E-K-S. And it literally means to weave or fabricate. So the root is where we get words like ax, carve, and build. And words like textile, tectonic, and text, and tiller. So the heart of the word technology is the art and skill we use to weave together, to make and build the objects we find useful for human living.
Andrew McDiarmid: (09:32)
And the good news, Janet, is that this art and skill doesn’t just refer to the original maker of a piece of technology. It also applies to us, the ones that are harnessing those tools. And I get really excited when I get this understanding of technology because it frees me up to make it about myself but just not in that selfish, passive, zombie-like way that we’re getting into these days.
Janet Parshall: (09:53)
Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, so true. All right. You make the point that God is the master technician. Again, in some respects, that seems to be a self-evident truth because even the Heaven declares his glory, right? We read the Book of Genesis, we watch His handiwork. We see the change of the seasons, we understand the brilliance of His paint palette. That would be self-evident. But is it more than that?
Andrew McDiarmid: (10:14)
Well we have the ability to create and weave together because God has it. And yes, you’re right, it is self-evident as we read the scripture, but it just hit me as I reviewed Psalm 139. And you know it says it elsewhere in the Bible too. Psalm 119-73 says your hands have made me and fashioned me. Job 10-11 says, you clothed me with skin and flesh. You knit me together with bones and sinews. And as commentary Charles Spurgeon puts it this way; “We are covered in God cloth, marvelously wrought in His Secret Workshop. What tapestry,” he asks, “can equal the human fabric?”
Andrew McDiarmid: (10:51)
So I think it’s just plain and simple. We are technology of God. And we have the ability to create technology that we can harness for His glory. And I think especially in this era of the digital age, we just have to really be aware. We have to think carefully. We have to be willing to purge what is necessary to do that kingdom business with the tech tools that we choose to have in our midst.
Read the full transcript below.