These are days for oatmeal, poured in a pan and not a microwave-safe bowl. This is a morning to stir it slow on the stovetop with a wooden spoon. Unmeasured, guessing the water-to-oats ratio by feel. It's time for a little salt and butter and honey from my husband's beloved hive.
If I only had cream - the real, thick, palest-yellow kind we used to get from the neighbor's cow - I'd use that. But instead it's 1% from a plastic udder.
This is no utopia.
I turn click Pandora on the obnoxious smart tv and eat my oats "in simplicity". There are contradictions that work well together.
I read some details recently about how Facebook effected the moods of almost 700,00 users by tweaking the algorithm of their newsfeed (see the links in this post), and it opened way too many doors for me. What if they are out to get us? What if it really is all mind-control? What if the things we read on Facebook are specifically planted there to induce frenzy and mob-mentality?
And why can't I just not have Facebook?
I slammed the doors one by one and came back to my real world, away from the internet. Back to my oatmeal in the morning and a run through the woods in the afternoon, just me and the dog and nature.
And my iPhone, because podcasts.
God put man in a garden and told him to have dominion over all the earth, which, at that time, only held things created by God. The animals and plants and the earth itself was all good, all under man's dominion, all created for his benefit; and man, for God.
In the image of God, it didn't take long for man to begin to create and bring the natural world into an obedience to himself. A little god in his own kingdom, he built cities and towers and weapons to protect and procure. He cared for the world that was dependent on him and before long, he depended on the work of his own hands.
He learned to use the world for his own devices.
We are the first generation of parents to raise children in such a digital age, but not the first to tackle a rapidly changing world. Let's not deceive ourselves - parenting was hard long before cell phones and internet showed up. The problem of disobedience has long been recognized:
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy," ~ 2 Timothy 3:1-2 NKJV
Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book." ~ Cicero
But aside from our children treating us the same way we sometimes treat God (good/bad/indifferent), there are new circumstances that make parenting difficult.
Shiny New Things.
I imagine there were old codgers who demonized travel-by-automobile and moving pictures and radio and telephone. I get a little codger-ly about things, too. Every week there's some new app we could get or gadget we could buy that will either make life simpler or just more entertaining.
And of course it's not just the kids that want Shiny New Things - I love me some apps and anything that promises to simplify life. But the fact that I have to make decisions about new things every week (apps and gadgets and devices, oh my!), on top of the normal overload of parental questions and decisions, is enough to enervate my senses.
It seems easy to decide for me. It's harder to decide for my kids, because what about all those open doors?
We are supposed to have dominion over these things.
The world is full of beauty and wonder and danger and so many things beyond our control, so many things we shouldn't take lightly. We are leaving an inheritance for our children, and wouldn't it be nice if they knew how to handle it?
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise." ~ Eph. 5:15
Being on the lookout can be exhausting if we are only looking out for new dangers. If we are circumspectly examining the world to find the beautiful things, the redeeming things, the things God has allowed us to enjoy, our attitude might become less codger-ly and more thankful.
I'm thankful for new things that connect and inspire and, yes, even entertain us.
I'm thankful for the same simple things my ancestors enjoyed hundreds of years ago, like oatmeal and well-made tools and a book by candlelight.
We were placed in a garden and my, haven't things gotten complicated since then? But it still remains that God has given us dominion, and there is nothing to fear in this world except our own disobedience and the things that we allow to have dominion over us.
Nothing to fear nothing to fear nothing to fear.
Lord, help us to steward well what You've put in our charge - to care for the world and the people in it. Help us to give our children a culture to influence and engage, not one to fear; and help us to live with caution but not suspicion.