Saturday, January 4, 2014

Technical Difficulty

This blog has been inactive for a while due to some technical issues. It is good to be back and I have learned that my technical ability has declined in the last few years. It is amazing how quickly things change.

I have been around computers for almost 30 years. My dad bought a commodore 64 in the early 80’s and bought an IMB clone pc later that decade. I spent part of my childhood playing Impossible Mission and Pac Man while typing the occasional paper. For those of you who did not grow up in the 80’s, yes, typing a paper was a big deal. I’m surprised that I didn’t get beat up more as a kid.

I learned how to use pc’s before Windows 3.1 and remember when Word Perfect was better than Word – the WYSIWYG was way better on Word Perfect when printing to a dot matrix.

While I was in college in the early 90’s I took computer programming and worked in the computer lab. During graduate studies I continued working in computer labs and began doing contract work for computer vendors and NCR. I installed self checkout systems for places like Wal-Mart and Kmart and printing systems for Fresenius Medical, Edward Jones, and Kroger Pharmacies. I occasionally assisted with the installation of Cisco servers for universities and banks. I was pretty tech savvy.

It has been about 10 years since I did my last computer contract job. I still have my id badges for different companies and can occasionally hack a payment kiosk screen at a cash register, which I would never do since I am a pastor – no matter how bored I get while waiting in a checkout line.

My ministry opportunities have grown to such an extent that I no longer have time to disassemble pc’s for fun and fortunately do not need to do contract computer work to supplement my income.

For most of my life I have considered myself to be technologically knowledgeable until recently. A few months ago I purchased a new computer for my office. When selecting a new monitor, I had difficulty finding a monitor with a dvi connector. I went to Staples to see their monitor selection. One of the store representatives noticed my puzzled look and offered assistance. He informed me that all new monitors have VGA and HDMI inputs. As he explained the technology to me he demonstrated how to plug the cables in to the monitor. I had momentary flashbacks to tech service calls to Dell in the 90’s when the representative would ask “Are you sure that the computer is plugged in and turned on?”

Somehow a decade of technology has passed me by. I am sure that it won’t be long before I will be the old guy telling the young ones how computers have taken over our world and ruined it – sort of like Impossible Mission.

Now you can understand why my blog has been down for so long. My domain name services changed and I didn’t.

As I get older, I am gaining a greater appreciation for older generations who feel that church has passed them by. Some long for yesterday when church was simpler. I remember several people who mentored me in ministry who have since passed away. I have a better understanding of what it feels like to have a young know-it-all tell me how things should be. I know what it feels like to have a kid who has never seen a c:/ instruct me on plugging in cables. I wanted to tell him about the good old days (that is what my blog is for), but I just smiled and said “thank you.” I remember the wise old mentors who looked at me when I was younger as I told them how church should be. They gently placed their hand on my shoulder and said “keep following God.” I thought those words were affirmations of my great insights. What they really meant was, maybe one day you will understand. Maybe.

I am learning to better appreciate those who have come before me on whose shoulders I stand.  From here I can look far into the future with great hope.

And, I am learning how to post a blog again.