The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven
and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem...
— Ezekiel 8:3
Ezekiel is one prophet who would have appreciated the internet. He seemed to live his life in a kind of virtual reality, slipping in and out of visions, getting teleported in the spirit back and forth from Babylon to Jerusalem, and experiencing the holy presence of God in a form more fearsome and breathtaking than any level boss from a video game. He had a mind that was wired into spiritual things and that dramatically traversed pathways between matter and spirit.By using the internet more and more and spending greater percentages of our time in cyberspace, we are developing minds like Ezekiel’s. We experience visions of real or made-up events by calling up Youtube videos. We send requests and pronouncements instantly across the world by email, twitter and facebook. We look down on any place on the planet or out into the vastness of space through Google Earth. Truly these are strange and amazing times we’re living in.
Having these powers at our fingertips and acquiring new ones with each new app, it is wise to consider what we do with these tempting tools. All the new knowledge, the potential for great good and increased productivity gained through technology can be offset and even overwhelmed by our tendency to use it to degrade ourselves or others, or to simply waste time. These technologies are going to continue advancing, and so should our spiritual and ethical awareness about what they’re doing to us.
With that caution always in mind, I want to recommend a few sites for you to visit next time you journey through the internet. First off, not surprisingly, is our own website at atonementlutheran.net
Scott Giesking has been managing this site, which started out as a place to post our recordings of Sunday services. It now houses our newsletter archive as well, and features a brand new up-to-date calendar of church events.
Take a look at the website of our national church at www.elca.org. You’ll find news, opportunities to give, resources, and a great “church finder” for when you’re off on vacation.
Our local synod also has a great site at http://www.fbsynod.com/ . If you haven’t already, submit your email address in the box at the right and receive the synod’s excellent weekly E-Spirit news update to your email.
You will see the above site has drop down menus at the top, some of which will take you to other sites like the one for Luther Springs and our Florida camps, http://www.lomfla.org/, Daily Devotions http://www.fbsynod.com/resources/daily-devotions or resources for Synod Deacons http://www.fbsynod.com/ministry/lay-advancement/synod-deacons.
Looking for a great radio station that plays new Christian music? You won’t find one better than http://www.lifeairhitradio.com/, run by Atonement members Dave and Krista Jung.
Because I like to compare various translations when I read or study the Bible, I am a fan of the World Wide Study Bible which includes NRSV and the Message versions of Scripture:
http://www.ccel.org/wwsb/ For an interesting perspective on the news around the world from the religious point-of-view (not just Christianity), I recommend to people
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/, the web site of the PBS show Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.
These are some of my favorites. There are also many great sites put up by local churches and aid organizations which tell about the mission work Christians are doing around the world. I hope you find time in the midst of your summer “surfing,” to check out and be inspired by the positive side of the web. And if you have any favorites of your own, let me know.
Oh yeah — Ole and Lena wouldn’t want us to forget this one: http://www.oldlutheran.com/