If you’re a Google Docs user, perhaps you’ve been a little perturbed with their shift into Google “Drive.” I know you have to change or die in technology, but why is everything that Google does always in beta?
Speaking of Google Drive, did you see the announcement about Google’s Driver-less car? California is the latest state to allow testing of Google’s self-driving cars on the roads. The cars use a combination of technologies, including radar sensors on the front, video cameras aimed at the surrounding area, various other sensors and artificial-intelligence software that helps steer. California (and Nevada) both allow the cars, though only with a human passenger along as a safety measure.
This is ironic. Carmakers have long asserted that automobiles would be much safer if not for the people. Rather than the equipment and technology, it’s the humans behind the wheel that have always proven to be the most unreliable variable.
Ministers and theologians have been saying the same thing about churches for centuries. “Churches would be great places if not for the people.” Perhaps this has been behind the push for more automated worship experiences. From sermon downloads and podcasts, to YouTube praise and social media community, not to mention TV (though that’s still mostly the purview of the dodgier disciples), self-church is much safer than being on the road with other people.
Google co-founder (and very rich guy) Sergey Brin said that autonomous cars can make roads safer, free commuters from the drudgery of driving, reduce congestion and provide transport to people who can’t drive themselves, such as the blind, disabled, elderly and intoxicated. Save for the intoxicated, the rest of his list sounds a lot like those whom Jesus proclaimed freedom for too (Luke 4:18).
Of course Jesus was a human being. God present in the flesh. And while we’d like to think he’d have made no errors behind the wheel, he could have gunned it down the freeway for fun. Jesus broke plenty of laws (mostly Sabbath stuff), but never sinned in doing so. But this is beside the point.
What is my point? It’s fine to have driverless cars, but for Christ’s sake let it take you to church or some kind of faithful (and error-prone and joy-prone) community gathering, and then get out of the car and go inside. It’s one of the remaining places in our culture where being present in the flesh still matters.