Dear God,

Six years old is not old!

That’s what I told the computer guy when he told me Carm’s “old” Apple laptop wasn’t worth fixing. Six years old! He said, “I might be able to fix it, if I can get the parts, but even if I did get it fixed I couldn’t really guarantee that the “software” would even work anymore. It’s just too old to really be worth it.” In case you missed it, that’s a lot of emphasized words in one sentence: “might”, “if”, “did”, “couldn’t”, “work”, and “really”.

I was frustrated. I remember buying Carm that computer way back when…6 years ago! We went window-shopping at the Apple store in Woodfield Mall and looked at computers. When she had decided on the one she would one day get I surprised her and told the salesclerk we’d buy it. I had been saving money for over a year from any funerals or weddings I had officiated, so when it came time to pay for the computer I took out the cash I had saved and started paying in $100 bills. Carm said it looked sketchy, and I didn’t realize it then, but the security team brought in a canine to check on the cash to see if it was drug money.

That computer had “issues”, so I bought her another one and took the one with issues to the above-mentioned clerk. That’s when we found out it was too old to be worth fixing! I’m still in shock. It’s only 6 years old!!! My mind is still melting.

I was thinking about why I’m so upset by it. First, I dislike planned obsolescence. How come they don’t create things to be repaired, renewed, and kept running for ages? Second, if you Google computer trash heaps you’ll see photos like the one I’ve copied below.

We have mountains of computers that are scrapped. Third, I’m a carpenter: not a computer guy. The changes come too fast for me and apparently 6 years in computer is like dog years: 1 year of real time equals 7 years of dog/computer time. In that sense, the computer is 43 years old.

But then I thought more about why this upset me and I decided it’s because I am a Christian and a member of the Christian faith who deals with eternal Truth, not 6-year old throw away things. I see a consumer mentality which seems more and more like a “throw away society” that looks only in terms of 6 years, and not in terms of lifetimes and generations. When I see our pollution I think of my children and grandchildren. When I think of Truths I think of what I will teach them about your love and presence, how to treat the world, and how to treat the least of those among us (as Jesus modeled for us). How do we as Christians respect the Earth and people around us if we get caught into a “just throw it away and buy a new one” mentality?

I don’t have answers to all of that, but it’s good to consider these things when I think of how I live in your creation. Help me to always think in terms of savoring people, the Earth we live on, and the relationships of each day.

I think I’ll get that computer fixed. It will eventually break, but at least I’ve kept it out of a landfill for a few years. Thanks for listening! I love you!

   Dan

Pastoral Pondering October 2019