Friday 19 April 2024

No More Gutenbergs, Please.

What do people do when the receive the Holy Ghost

At the risk of being boring, we're going to start with Samson. Not because he's chronologically first. But because there's a tendency to avoid such examples.

What did Samson do with his Holy Ghost?

He kinda killed a lot of people. He was cruel to animals, at least foxes, and slept with women who were all around bad for everyone. And he did so while being empowered by the Holy Spirit in the same way a discernment blogger or a faith healer could be empowered but likely isn't. Samson could say he had miraculous, spiritually juiced biceps, all the live long day. But it was his ability to rent lions in twain with his bare hands and kill philistines with donkey parts, that showed that he actually received the Holy Ghost in the first place. Smason gives us a unique view of the holy spirit at work. because unlike the minor chords and LED lighting that prompts dopamine in the mega-church, you could see Samson's strength because he did things with it. Or rather, he did things with it because he was given strength by the Spirit of God.

I got asked this kind of question once. A rogue kid at a youth group had gone off the catholic reservation and ended up regularly attending our evangelical youth group. More so than the children of our evangelical elders. And a mom, with a bit too much worry, wanted to know how I knew he was saved. I explained that you can't know but that you can see if you look for the fruits of the Holy Spirit in the rogue's life.  It's like knowing there's fish in the creek and seeing the fish in the creek. One of these scenarios lends itself to good fishing, comparatively.

Back to Samson. Did he have the Ghost in him? Evidently yes. Why? Because you could see the Holy Spirit working in him.

What about Bezaleel and Aholiab?

How did their Holy Ghost show up?

These men didn't have slaughtered Philistines and foreskins to show for their empowerment. They had works which could only point to the worship of God. Wisdom in how to craft holy things for a holy God. And a detailed list of specs to follow. You could see the evidence that God was using them by the spirit empowering them to do stuff. 

Fast forward a bit to our old friend Gutenberg. Not in the bible, but rather associated with it. Both the scriptures about Samson and Bezaleel and Aholiab and the gold they once worked in and buried themselves in with the Philistines.

Where was his Holy Ghost? In the creation of a printing press and the arming of the everyman in the church. Now every man of God could have a sword of the Spirit. Because his press could make them faster and firmer than any scribe's pen. You can see the evidence of God's will being done and His Spirit at work because of the work that got done because Gutenberg decided to start printing. A lot of people will overlook that the same God that supernaturally empowers His craftsmen and His judges is alive and working in the world today and the world of the reformers yesterday. Gutenberg didn't use the printing press for Bibles. He made the printing press for Bibles. 

Fast forward a few more centuries though and we reach an interesting era. One filled with Taylor Swift gospel coalitions and A.I. on the doorsteps of Wittenberg. And a certain class of pastors who have found their Holy Ghost all by themselves. Claims that every new tech is the next big thing. Claiming Gutenberg's gifts without Gutenberg's work. The same way a skinny guy can act tough online until he has to actually show his deadlift to a bible-toting gym bro. The question then gets posed. How is a YouTube channel different than the printing press? Or VR? Or AR? or A.I.? Ad absurdum. 

I'll tell you how. It shows.

They aren't evidence of the Holy Spirit working, but rather, where He's absent. If only we had a modern-day Samson, standing toe to toe with those who would rip fetuses apart in the womb toes first. It would be a very different news cycle if we did, especially considering what he did to Foxes and the news networks that bear their name. If only we had Bezaleel's and Aholiab's making the things we need to worship online, instead of creating accounts alongside every other god in the online pantheon. How many Christians make the guitars and drums and LED light systems we use to worship with these days. Or are we fine with rendering to God what was Ceasars, or at the very least used in his circuses?

If only we had modern-day Gutenberg's. Who could chart new ways to really understand and access the scriptures. To possess them. To distribute them. Instead of the kind of people who would claim his foresight and divine use simply because they reworked ChatGPT or had an idea for an app. People who have the Holy Spirit, who get used by God in powerful ways, do so without the external help of corporations, pagans and shills. Bezaleel did not have his gifts of craftmanship verified by the Moabite National gold smith association before doing what God made him to do. Samson did not worry about the social ramifications of killing his enemies. And Gutenberg didn't join the Catholics and the Chinese in a culturally viable technology that he just needed an email address to sign up for.

They acted and everyone else saw the Holy Ghost in their work.

As I'm fond of saying, Tech is not neutral because it's not used by neutral people. It's used by sinners, mostly. But then we get to the interesting and unique times in history where God uses sinners and very not neutral tech to bring Himself glory. And He often does so in ways that change the world. With Gutenberg. The tech was not only made by a Christian. It was made for distinctly Christian purposes. The entire act was bathed in the redemption of Christ's sacrifice and how it echoed down through history.

Did TikTok start in the same way?

Did ChatGPT?

Did Facebook.

You'll find a lot of secular atheists and cultural Jews and China acting exactly how these characters act when given algorithmic access to the North American media appetite. But are you finding the kind of redemptive underpinnings or just unmitigated potential? Because other small-g gods see that potential too. And they got there first. Just because it looks like the right place to be, doesn't mean it is. Delilah’s bed would have been nice too; would have looked the part of where a victorious warrior should lay his head at the end of the day. We've fallen for that trick before too. And apples were allegedly involved as well. At the heart of the desire to use tech for Christian purposes is a germ of an idea that puts us at the helm of what gets used. Even in his technological innovation, Gutenberg simply continued what the Holy Spirit was already doing in the writers of the scriptures. He just made it faster, and cheaper and made it something that wasn't on the payroll of a sinfully indulging church leadership team in Rome.

He didn't see the shiny new thing and try to cram Jesus into it or paint Jesus onto it. He was filled with the Holy Ghost and Jesus came pouring out of the presses like it was making new covenant wine instead of Bibles. But I repeat myself. It wasn't a desire as much as it was a response. The same way our desires need biblical responses.

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: Colossians 3:5 KJV‬‬

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