The vigil for Steven Sotloff at UCF this past month.
The house was still mostly quiet three weeks ago Wednesday morning at 6 am when my phone alerted me of a text message from News 13. In the wake of a national disaster, I (Carrie) had signed up for this service, and in hindsight, most of the texts are useless traffic reports. I keep it around, though, just in case of apocalyptic weather, zombie outbreak or alien invasion. This particular morning, the message hit with a thud:
“U.S. confirms video of former UCF student Steven Sotloff’s beheading by ISIL militants is authentic.”
Now, I did not know Steven personally or have any mutual friends at UCF, nor have I been a particularly close follower of the recent Middle Eastern happenings. And yet, I find myself affected by the death of a stranger across the world.
Technology’s Moral Value
Weeks later, I’m still struck by a number of things: mostly, the accelerated speed at which information reaches me, and the heightened emotional impact of a story accompanied by a visual. After all, the execution of American journalists by extremists in the Middle East is not a brand new thing. But technology connects us all, and video is a powerful medium.
Of course, debating the moral value of the technology itself would be about as fruitful as deciding whether dynamite is good or bad. For every example of evil going viral, you could find a positive counterpart. Consider the role of video and social media in the infamous Ice Bucket Challenge of Summer 2014. With a simple internet video campaign and some creativity, the ALS Association quadrupled donations to research a devastating disease.
Thinking about the speed at which the world is changing, I am any given mix of terrified and exhilarated, depending on the moment. But viewing current realities in light of the commands and promises of Jesus, I am energized:
“All authority has been given to me…”
“Go and make disciples of all nations…”
“I am with you always…”
One source estimates over 10 billion mobile connected devices by 2017. What possibilities are within reach with the Holy Spirit in the mix? God saw fit to launch his Great Commission into the unique era of the Roman Empire with it’s new highway systems to aid the first missionaries. Might He use the technological wonders of our day to bring it to completion? Only He knows. Pray with us that it might be so!
- Creative applications of Jesus Film content by our partner organizations and individuals who use the app.
- The UCF students, that they wold turn to the Lord with any anxiety or grief related to the ISIL events.
- We’re getting close on our financial partnership “project.” Pray that Jayson would be able to return to his team’s work very, very soon.