Ponderings — May 21, 2021

It’s automatic!

Technology is making more things automatic.

In a bygone day, one inserted a key, pressed in the clutch, the other foot pressed on the accelerator and the hand turned the key. The starting of a car was a beautiful symphony of rehearsed movements. Ask a sixteen-year-old what it means to “flood a car” while trying to start it. They will look at you with the look that is translated, “you old fool.” Modern cars all have some form of automatic starting. Today, I grab my key fob, sit in the seat, push the brake and push the start button. I can also start my car without being in it, but I’m afraid my car would drive off without me.

The car has automatic seat adjustment. I push a button to inform the car it is my rear on the seat. The seat adjusts. The cruise control adjusts the speed if I get too close to the car in front. It warns me when I change lanes without signaling. If I change lanes too often without signaling the car will tell me to get a cup of coffee or take a nap. It is automatic in almost everything.

Have you signed up for something with your email address? If you do, you will end up on an automatic subscription list. The button that reads “Unsubscribe” takes you to the black hole of the Internet and by unsubscribing to one publication you automatically give your email address to fifteen others. It is automatic.

There are things about being human that are automatic. You don’t need to send signals to your heart or lungs to do their work. Your eyes focus automatically. Most of us move about without too much thought. It became automatic as toddlers. Lately, I pay more attention to my ambulatory processes. Falling is bad. Getting up from the fall is worse.

Human interactions also become automatic. Admit it, there are people that get on your last nerve. You have long since forgotten why that is so. You respond to them automatically. Rarely will we deviate from our first impression of a person.

There was a lady in a church named Rosie. Her disposition was the opposite of her name. Rosie would be seen walking down the hall of the church and the church staff would vanish. I never figured out how they disappeared when they saw her coming. She would barge into my office and demand to see her funeral service file. She would take it and scratch off another name of a person she wanted to participate in her funeral. She was so mean that the Devil was afraid of her and God didn’t want her, so she outlived all the people she wanted doing her eulogy. Thankfully I left that church before she died, so I didn’t have to do her funeral either! The response to Rosie was automatic. She had taken all the Methodist and Baptist Bible studies, but none of them had “taken.” Her Sunday school class was afraid of her, but that is the subject of another article.

There are other people you enjoy seeing because they seem to spread their joy and love of life to everyone. They make you laugh and feel better no matter how bad your day is. That is how I feel about Sunday mornings. I don’t know how much good I do folks on Sunday morning, but my life is enriched and blessed by being with them in the house of God.

Living as a child of God in today’s culture is not automatic and becoming increasingly challenging. God’s children are taught to pay attention to how we live. The Bible has a great way of describing this concept, “Be careful how you live you might be entertaining angels.”

Yes, especially those people!

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