On John Rhodes’s “Anabaptist Technology,” Winter 2018: As a fellow Anabaptist from the Beachy Amish tradition, I have always viewed the Bruderhof’s cautious approach to technology as one worthy of emulation. I wish to thank John Rhodes for an excellent article.
In my own tradition we did pretty well at staving off invasive technology – until the Internet Age, that is. We capitulated when the internet swooped in because we would otherwise have been forced to change, drastically and almost overnight, our approach to commerce. We got caught flatfooted. Perhaps we should have copied our faith cousins at the Bruderhof and worked out a common purse system.
On Eberhard Arnold’s “The Soul of Work,” Winter 2018: At the international office of Word Made Flesh, the ministry where I work, our staff read and discussed “The Soul of Work.” Love and work must dance together for community to flourish. In the midst of our tasks and responsibilities, we don’t want to forget the reason for our work: love of God and love of neighbor. It’s wonderful to see Arnold’s vision of integrated work and soul being lived out in Bruderhof communities. At Word Made Flesh, we too seek the humanizing dignity of such holistic rhythms.
On Stephanie Bennett’s “Endangered Habitat,” Winter 2018: It is remarkable to consider the vast silence of space before God spoke our world into being, the vast silence of Adam before Eve, and the vast silence of man before his Maker gave him speech. Bennett’s piece reminds us of that which we forget almost daily – that silence is actually the ground of our being, and that speech is merely the figure. Organized sound is music. Disorganized sound is noise. When we noisify the environment to the degree that we have in technological society, we literally lose the ground upon which the scaffolding of authentic humanness is raised.
Jesus repeatedly removed himself from the crowds to pray, be alone, and be silent. Most citizens of technological society think that alone-ness is synonymous with loneliness. But the Psalmist tells us to “be still and know that I am God”: to be alone with God in silent prayer is to never be lonely, but to be comforted in the quiet assurance and embrace of our Maker.
In 1930, T. S. Eliot distilled both the question of our time and its chilling answer: “Where will the word resound? / Where will the word be found? / Not here, there is not enough silence.” Perhaps my favorite example of the necessity of silence is 1 Kings 19:11–12: “And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still, small voice.”