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Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Passing of an iGenius

We noted with sadness and much ado this week the passing of Steve Jobs, the iGenius. Founder of Apple, he leaves behind a wife, a son and two daughters, and a third daughter from another relationship. Steve left us with the Mac and the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. While Microsoft ruled the commercial computer world, Apple ruled the fun computer world and even forced Microsoft to make changes to keep up. Steve Jobs had his effect. He gave us new ways to listen to music everywhere we went and new ways to use the phone. He achieved the ultimate portable computer in the iPads. Rooted in Buddhism, he tried to live a good life and give people the benefit of his genius. He epitomized capitalism while indulging in generosity and compassion. Steve was a nice guy.

Some may argue that Steve left us a generation of addicts, people who can't seem to function without the "smartphone", who need the "next latest thing", slaves to the machines he created. Even if you aren't a user of his devices, you are likely influenced by them. His technology assisted in the "social networking" of today which is, by definition, a process removed from actual personal interaction. Where we once could escape the noise of the phones and the computers and the Internet by leaving the house, his technology made it possible to be plugged in all the time with no apparent possibility of relief. Some might argue that it's not all good stuff. Ironically, the lunatic Westboro Baptist Church -- you know, those nuts that protest funerals for our fallen military members as divine justice, that kind of thing -- have announced via Twitter that they will be protesting Jobs's funeral because he "gave God no glory & taught sin." It was posted via an iPhone.

Apple said in their statement on his death "The world is immeasurably better because of Steve." I have to admit I'm not clear on what that means. Is it immeasurable because it's too big? In what way? Or maybe it's too complex. But what does that mean? Or you could say that something is "immeasurable" if it's too small to measure. What exactly does that mean? I'll tell you what it means. It means that the value system that we embrace as a nation and that Steve fed in us is a convoluted value system that makes technology a great thing and minimizes those values that Christians are supposed to share. Frankly, it's no reflection on Steve. He simply had his finger on the pulse of America and knew what we'd want. Now he's looking at a different value system. I'm praying for his family.

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