The Great Computer
By: Lori Heine
"Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away ... .And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
(1 Corinthians 13:8 and 13)
I am in the middle of a computer crisis. My trusty, longtime computer was attacked by a vicious virus that has totally shut it down. I had seven years' worth of work on that hard drive, only some of which was backed up. The rest is on various email files, and now something seems to be wrong with them, too. When we place our trust in computers, we are placing our lives in very frail vessels, indeed.
Thank God and glory hallelujah, our lives cannot be defined solely by what's in our computers. God is not a computer. God's knowledge is as much a matter of the heart as it is of the head. That's what our Christian faith tells us - that God knows us not only "in the head" but "in the heart." And that we must know God the same way.
Scripture tells us that God "looks upon the heart." Every life - and every moment of life - is infinitely precious. No computer, however sophisticated, will ever be able to replace us. As more and more people lose their livelihoods to the ruthless onslaught of modern life, we must, as Christians, help society to rediscover the value of each human life.
Heterosexism is a product of "computer" logic. People who disapprove of "homosexuality" look at us and say: "That does not compute." The whole process of reconciling our sexual orientation with our faith - for us and for others - involves thinking with the heart instead of merely with the head. It's not to say that logic or reason do not matter, because certainly they do - and God's the God of that realm, too - but the God Who created the heart as well as the head is the God of them both.
Some scientists refer to God as if "He" were a great computer. The cosmos God has made is unquestionably the greatest computer of them all - the master computer that runs all others - but that doesn't mean God is just a computer, even a great one. God is the great Computer Builder. Just as God's great mind birthed everything that can be computed, God's great heart gave birth to infinitely more than any computer could ever dream of.
God knows everything I've done, as well as why I've done it. Faith is not about "how," but "why." God is more concerned about our "why's" than about anything else we do. God is far more emotionally engaged with us than we realize. "He" is more engaged with us - and more deeply invested in us - than we are even in ourselves.
"Where is our God?" Jesus answered that question for us. God is so totally with us that in Jesus, He became one of us. There's no way God could be closer to us than that. One with us in birth, in life, in joy, in suffering and in death. We shall even be one with Him beyond death.
We can only imagine the courage it took to risk all this - to choose to be born into this violent and often hateful world. It had to be, quite literally, a life-and-death commitment. Does God care about me and my computer frustrations? When I cry at my terminal, ready to beat my brains out on my keyboard, God is right there, crying and beating His head on that keyboard with me.
We've all heard somebody with computer woes wail that their "whole lives" are in that computer. And we know that this simply isn't true. Our whole lives are in God's heart and mind, and they are safe there. God will never succumb to a virus, and God's hard drive will never crash.
God calculates not only in terms of zeroes and ones - not merely facts and figures - but according to the infinite worth of every person. No computer can ever replace us in God's heart.
As Christians, we must speak out against the dehumanization of our world. There is no safety, for us in the LGBT community, in simply being useful to those who seek power – whatever their ideology. Experience shows that they may turn against us, tossing us overboard whenever they calculate that those who hate us can be more useful to them than we, in our small numbers, could ever be.
God has only one use for us - to love us. We were created to be loved by God. Our highest calling is to love, both God and each other. It is the very cause for which our orientation exists. Everybody matters, no one is disposable, nothing is more important than love, and this, above all else, is the truth of which we must remind the world.
"Where is our God?" our enemies may taunt us. How can we be sure that God loves us? Our very existence is all the proof we will ever need, along with the fact that Jesus gave His life for all the humans God has made. We're here, God made us, so this means us as much as it means anybody else.
We must place our security in the hearts of those grounded in an understanding of the love of God. The good news is that this number is growing.
It is this truth that will live on in my heart, even if every jot and tittle in my computer is destroyed. What matters is not that my hard-drive survives, but that I survive. The essential component, in my work for God's realm on earth, is not my computer. The essential component is me.
I will get through this hairy, scary, head-bashing time. I know who I am. And I know this because, in Jesus Christ, I know Who God is.
Lori Heine serves on Whosoever's board of directors. She maintains a blog called Born on 911 and also contributes to the Whosoever News Blog.
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