Following the great flood, Genesis 11:1-9 and with some help from the NIV study notes on this passage I just meditated on the story of some of those who survived the flood waters and ended up settling on a plain in Shinar. We’re probably all familiar with this accounting but in a nutshell the citizens were building a really tall tower. According to Genesis verse 4…”let us build a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth” These were descendants of Noah, I can see they, or their fathers and mothers, had gotten on board the ark in one place and ended up in a completely different location later so a place to call “home” was understandable. I’d always believed the men wanted to build the tower to reach the Heavens to be on the same level as God and I grant you, given the reasons the study notes give, I can see that interpretation. Yet another motivation reigned in their hearts for they wanted to rule themselves along with everyone else.
God wasn’t fooled, He saw into their hearts, read their evil intent and knew rebellion when He saw it in mankind’s hearts. So He caused them to all speak different languages. No one could understand what others were saying. Communication ground to a halt. The people scattered.
Seems we humans are at it again only instead of baked bricks of mud and tar our bricks for our tower of Babel is all our electronic methods of communication. Our computers, smart phones, iPads, iPods, electronic readers, instant messaging, email…all meant to help us communicate better and with more people. Yet I can’t help but wonder if instead of bringing us closer if it doesn’t push us further apart.
Who hasn’t sat in a room and watched as someone in that room texted someone else in the same room or received one from one of the room’s occupants? We’re so busy talking or worse texting, on our cell phones we can’t put them down to drive. Now that we can Tweet and Facebook we can share the most mundane or intimate happenings of our lives with a few keystrokes (and we don’t need to spell anything correctly either).
Don’t think me a hypocrite for I am as plugged in as anyone. I love my cell phone that is also a phonebook, calendar, alarm clock, camera, photo album and provides quick and instant internet access wherever I am. As I’ve been recovering from surgery I’ve felt little like web surfing and weeks went by without my pulling my laptop out of its case using the smart phone to update my FB page simply because it was the easiest way to do so and my energies were directed to getting well.
But, I’ve been far more UNplugged than plugged and I’ve enjoyed actually painting again. Playing board games with my daughter. Praying. Even becoming more aware of my body and what it is telling me. So something tells me I may be on the right track about this – all our “electronic communication” is our “tower of Babel”. There have been days I’ve longed for true conversation, someone to verbally express my struggles and fears to. FB just wouldn’t cut it. Only I wasn’t sure who to call – I was too accustom to communicating electronically. I’ve also come to realize comments on FB, Tweeter, in email and texts can be misread and misunderstood because we can’t see a person’s face or hear the tone of their voice. Babel, Babel, Babel!!!!
So I challenge you to unplug a bit and become more involved in your own life. Can it really do any harm?