Technology: Thermostat or Thermometer?

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The other night, my friend and I were discussing the film 2001: A Space Odyssey and what Kubrick was trying to say in that iconic film. We were puzzling over what it might mean and the larger themes or takeaways of the film. Over the course of our conversation, I made the point that technology is a tool that reveals a lot about the humans using it. It’s not a thermostat but a thermometer that can tell us a great deal about ourselves that we might not recognize as readily any other way.

This reminded me of something that my former pastor once said: money is amoral. It’s neither good nor bad, but it reveals our desires, priorities, and loves.

And I think technology is the same way.

We can use this absolutely incredible tool in order to help, encourage, free, and inspire. We can use it to share truth at a scale that no other generation has been able.

Or we can create and spread things that perpetuate despair and hopelessness.
We can use it to criticize, condemn, and retreat deeper into our own comfort zones.

We could use it to numb ourselves, staying apathetic and entertained, while never contributing meaningfully.

For months, I’ve been using technology mainly for the latter. I’ve been exhausted, run-down, and worn out and just wanting to escape for a while. I love film and television and have watched a lot recently, using the excuse that it’s “research” since I’ve begun writing screenplays. But, at the heart of it, I have used this incredible tool to numb myself so that I don’t have to try, risk, or expend any energy. My apathy and desire to numb is my natural reaction to the exhaustion that comes from relying on myself.

In the last month, as I’ve taken the time to rest and pray, I had an idea: restart my Etsy shop. I let this go a couple of years ago because it wasn’t all that profitable and it wasn’t fun for me anymore. No one would miss it, so I let it die thinking I would never resurrect the idea. I have these ideas for how I want to use this shop as a philanthropic outlet so that I can positively impact others through business. I am choosing to leverage technology to create, encourage, and help. My pastor often says that we were created to live a life of productive beauty and that’s exactly what I’m choosing to do now.

It’s so tempting to use technology to feed our worst desires: comparison, competition, strife, and anger. But what if we chose instead to use it for good, bringing hope to those who have none? What if we used this tool to positively impact another instead of numbing ourselves to the horrors around us? What if the technology available to us was used to connect instead of divide?

As you use all of the various pieces of technology at your disposal this week, I encourage you to look at what your use reveals about your priorities, your desires, and your loves. Do they match up with the Gospel and the heart of Jesus? If not, bring those things to him and ask him to heal and restore those pieces that are broken or out of place.

Let’s use technology as a thermometer this week, taking our individual temperatures as we continue on this journey of faith.

How do you see technology? Do you see it as a thermometer or a thermostat?

What does your technology use reveal about your heart?

To go Deeper: Read Pesky Green-Eyed monster, Social Media-less Existence


  1. This is such a great way to look at technology. I definitely have a love-hate relationship with it, but seeing it as a tool and as a thermometer is empowering and kind of puts it in its place. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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