Scripture Driven SoftwareNovember 1, 2019 at 4:10 PM
God is Weird
When we consider that God is Holy, we acknowledge that He possesses unique and exclusive attributes that we have never seen and will never see in this life. The reality is that even if we got a glimpse, we would fail to comprehend what we saw. He is unlike anything, without comparison. That is the essence of the word “holy”.
But in Isaiah 55:8, God clarifies further. He is not just different in character, but as an extension, He is different in thought and deed. He is altogether different.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”, declares the LORD. – Isaiah 55:8
He thinks differently than you or I. He acts differently than you or I. God is weird.
You know it. But every time you see it, it catches you off guard. Sometimes it resolves to a sense of delight, and you chuckle realizing His creativity and ingenuity. Other-times, it proceeds a reverent fear, as you witness a sovereign accomplishment that could not be thwarted by your failures or ineptitude, and many times in spite of. Jaw dropping awe is not easy to describe, but you know that feeling.
On this basis, it is entirely reasonable to assume that however you or I think we should do things, we will be, if not guided by the Word of God and His Spirit, doing the wrong things. Best case scenario: we may be doing the right things but entirely the wrong way. The Bible warns against “leaning on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5) as there is a massive failure in trusting your own “better" judgement.
God Foresaw Technology
When I read the Tower of Babel narrative, Genesis 11:6 provides a fascinating insight into the mind of God when He says:
“...nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.”
The context is a people who have single-mindedly decided to oppose God and His command to “fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28; Genesis 11:4). God is not expressing an opposition to technology, but that in the hands of the corrupt, the possibilities for evil are unlimited and horrifying. Put another way, the tools of technological advancement would merely enable "all that they propose to do", and because "every intention of the thoughts of [the human] heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5) the tools would exclusively be used for evil.
And so, God actively intervenes to stall human technological advancement by confusing everyone’s speech. But the issue is not with technology itself, it’s with how it will be used by a people with nothing but evil intent. At its core, the issue is the timing of technological advancement.
We can know this because, as we fast forward many millennia, we now see towers much taller than Babel, technological advancements more impressive than Babel, and evil much darker than Babel. God was right, technology would be used for evil.
So why did God put a stop to it then, but not now? What has changed?
The answer is Jesus, the work of the cross, and the indwelling Spirit of God that is now at work in ways unlike before. This is huge! What we see is a God who is mindful of the destructive nature of technology and its use for evil. We see a God who purposefully delays it until the "fullness of time". A time where Jesus' death for the sins of mankind unveiled a new way to be human, and the beginning of a reclamation project where all that had been lost is incrementally being restored. We see a God who opens the door for technology to be used for good and not “only evil continually”. That’s a big deal, and we don’t know the half of what it took on the cross to accomplish, or the degree to which His Spirit is at work restraining evil and enabling good to this day. That’s why Paul describes it as a mystery.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. – 2 Thessalonians 2:7
Okay, so we can agree that God is weird and that technology is not intrinsically evil. Our resolve must be to seek the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16), know the heart of God (John 17:3), and harness technology for His glory, the ultimate good. That is the essence of the Faith Sourced project. Therein lies the pursuit of "Scripture Driven Software".
There is a problem when the response to the question, “Why is it done that way?” is a nonchalant “That’s just the way it’s always been done.” True, it’s always easier to replicate a method than to discern the underpinning rationale. But it leaves you with the inability to recognize when the rationale is no longer valid. This is the arch nemesis of us all, when paradigms change but methods do not.
We’ve seen how it looks in our own personal lives. I remember when I learned that I didn’t have to use a double space after periods in a sentence. I had been doing it my entire life, I learned it in keyboarding class. But it was a relic of 18th century typesetting to improve the legibility of crudely imprinted ink. The introduction of laser printers, and high definition displays obsoletes it entirely. Ironically, I’m now using double spaces at the end of a sentence on my iPhone, but for an entirely different reason.
Since we are building software intentionally for God, we must ensure that it is God’s Word that is guiding our rationale, our “whys”. It can't merely be a rehash of what everyone else is doing. There may be some similarities, but at a fundamental level, the rationale is completely different.
For example, Jesus describes the target audience of our endeavours as ‘lost'.
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. – Luke 19:10
As such, we have to stop thinking like a marketing team, and ask God to reveal His heart for the lost. When we see the world as He does, our approach becomes a lot clearer.
The subject is not ourselves, but Christ.
Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. – 1 Corinthians 1:31
To this end, self promotion is the most deceitful con. When we portray ourselves as the product, no wonder people come away disillusioned.
The purpose is not to generate revenue, but to make disciples.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...” – Matthew 28:19-20
Disciple making is difficult. It’s not something that you can pin down to a twelve week program, or an eight segment video series. Jesus spent three years with his disciples, and when He ascended to heaven, one could argue that it was only then that they truly began to learn what being a disciple was actually about. Discipleship is a lifetime of learning, growing, training.
The agency is not pixels, mailing lists or marketing funnels.
“You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world.” - Matthew 5:13-14
Technology is not the object of our faith, and it certainly does not replace the work of God's Spirit through God’s people. God has chosen us to be agents of the Gospel. To that end, we do not propose or build solutions that reduce human agency. Our goal is to facilitate human engagement, expedite it, encourage it, nourish it.
Our metrics are not clicks, page views, or bounce rates.
For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart. – 1 Samuel 16:7
God is in charge of the analytics. He sees the heart, and the results that matter, the results that are eternal, can only be seen there.
Even in just these few examples, we can see how God’s Word completely changes our approach to software, what it looks like, how it works, the role it plays, and how we evaluate its success. “Scripture Driven Software” is a resolve to not settle for the status quo, knowing that our God is weird and wonderful. Why would we do things like those who don’t know Him? Those rules don’t apply here.
“Scripture Driven Software” is a new set of rules.