Jesus and Augmented Reality - Wrestling Through Digital Incarnation

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Marcus here. Some days I love the internet. Some days I don't.

This morning I saw a video teaser of a new augmented reality application for the iPhone. TAT augmented ID promises to add "a digital layer to real world to present yourself." Some days I don't care. It all makes me a little tired. Twitter and blogs and facebook and comments and RSS... and now floating boxes around my head when people look at me using their iPhone camera. (I also saw an augmented reality tattoo, but I'm not linking to that.)

When did science fiction become nonfiction? I’m a bit of a scifi fan, so bear with me for one paragraph. In science fiction, technology often dehumanizes people. On Star Trek, the Borg assimilates people. In the Matrix, we’re all just a bunch of sleeping batteries. In Brave New World, people have traded freewill for a genetic caste system and mind-numbing drugs. Christians are called to be in the world, not of it. That means we need to participate in the dominant culture. If people stand around the water cooler and talk about what was on TV last week, then I need to visit the water cooler in order to participate in the conversation. And I need to own a TV.

In my opinion, Christians should not unplug from popular culture. We should engage it. Andy Crouch talks about this quite a bit in Culture Making. For too long, Andy says, Christians condemned culture. Then we began to critique culture. Then the Christian industry became very good at copying culture. Today, many Christians are merely consumers of culture. Instead, we need to be active creators of culture. Creating culture in the area of technology is particularly tricky. Nobody really knows the rules yet. The plane is being built in the air, as the saying goes. And we need to be up in that flying workshop helping everyone figure out the new way we engage with the world. In a few years, I hate to say it, but you’ll probably see little floating boxes around my head when I give a presentation. What do we do in the meantime? We experiment in the new technologies. We play there. We work there. And we continue to focus on the two greatest commandments—loving God with all of our hearts, minds, soul, strength, and loving our neighbors as ourselves. We are to be people of love whether we are at church, at home, at work, or engaged others in the developing world of social technology.