Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Global Village

They say the world is shrinking. Sometimes it certainly seems that way. Technology has reached the point where it allows us to communicate across time and space like never before. For example, in the Firefox browser you can use an add-on called FoxClocks. It sits in a bar along the bottom of your browser window and can display the current date and time of as many time zones as you like. I have US Pacific, US Mountain, US Central, US Eastern, the UK, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Victoria Australia. The reason I have so many clocks is because I have to communicate regularly with people in all these places. I also have a watch on my wrist for emergencies.

Communication technology has come a long way since the smoke signals of North America, the bullroarer of the Australian Aborigines, and the talking drums of Africa. We can now hold simultaneous conversations with multiple people from all corners of the earth, the only obstacle being the need for sleep. Just this weekend I helped Grace do a final check of Splashdown's upcoming short story anthology. We were able to exchange documents back and forth almost instantaneously. Up until not so long ago, that sort of thing would have been impossible.

The Internet has created the "Global Village" which sounds cozy from the inside. Unfortunately, it is a village to which not everyone has access. While we enjoy chatting, texting, and tweeting, there are people out there whose only concern is finding their next meal. Sometimes it is easy to forget just how privileged we are. This weekend I read the news headlines and my heart almost broke. The main story was about how East Africa is being ravaged by the worst drought in sixty years. Somalia is worst-hit and the UN estimates there are ten million people in that region at risk of starvation. Another story covered the shooting in Norway in which an estimated ninety-six people lost their lives. A third story was about a talented British singer who was found dead at her home on Saturday after a long battle with drug and alcohol addiction.
All of which brought home to me how much the world desperately needs the healing power of Jesus. Without Him, we are at the mercy of all that is bad in the world. Without Him, we are doomed. Scientists may try to tell us that we can build a perfect world, but they are deluded. In one weekend, a woman with everything the world has to offer lost her battle with addiction, an apparently ordinary man decided to kill as many people as he could, and the Horn of Africa stands on the brink of starvation. If this is the best we can do, then we are in deep trouble.
As Christian writers spread across the globe, we are perfectly positioned to help spread the word that there is a solution to this world's problems; that there is a peace that fame and fortune cannot bring; that there is a love that can make the angriest man lay down his guns; and that God's mercy makes us all brothers and sisters in Him and that no-one should go hungry.
We have the technology at our fingertips to see our stories reach the farthest corners of the globe. My prayer is that we write for God's glory, and that our words might help nudge the world a little closer to Christ. Because there is no higher calling.


  1. Paul, I have been following a site that is using internet technology to nudge the world closer to Christ by embedding Christian journalists and interns in projects in the Majority World. These are not big NGO projects, but small organizations of local believers. It's called World Next Door. (http://www.worldnextdoor.org) I think readers concerned about what God is doing on in the world will be interested.

  2. LeAnne, thanks for your challenging post and Amen to your prayer. It is all too easy to get caught up in our own lives and not see the suffering and needs of people around the globe.