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November 14, 2012

Something more Intuitive than My iPhone

Technology may get the best of me—all the time—but fortunately, I have access to something even better.


I beg to differ with the word intuitive so readily applied to today’s technology. Every shiny, silicon gizmo that pops on the market is “intuitive.” What they mean is “self-explanatory if you’re 12 and convinced you cannot possibly lobotomize your new device by pressing the wrong button.”

I happen to have a healthy fear of unintentional consequences, so I won’t press anything unless I know what it does. Last time I forged bravely ahead, I got Spanish subtitles on the TV.

Don’t get me wrong. I love technology. I just don’t speak its language.

Take the Internet. How can my teenage son sit next to me, look at my computer screen, and know exactly what to do in less than half a second?

“Click on ‘new,’” he’ll say.

I search the screen.

“Click on ‘new.’”

I squint at the flashing colors and scattered words.

“New,” he’ll enunciate like I don’t know how to spell.

Well, if I could find the stinkin’ link, I would.

No matter how poorly I operate new technology, there’s no getting away from it. The other day, my trusty, uncomplicated cell phone died and doomed me to a new purchase—a smartphone.

Just what I needed. Something to prove I’m dumber than polymer.

At the store, the clerk unwrapped the sleek little doohickey I’d picked out, did some fancy finagling to its insides, and handed it over.

“All ready.” She smiled as though that was the beginning and end of our conversation.

The store was crowded, but I wasn’t about to fall for a doctor-visit routine where you got a limit of one question answerable with a yes or no before the white-robed apparition vanished from the room.

I planted myself firmly at the counter. “Thanks. But how does it work?”

The clerk blinked at me. “It’s intuitive.”

Right. Like the tax code.

I looked in the box. “Doesn’t it come with a manual?”

She frowned. “No. I told you, it’s intuitive.”

Obviously not the go-to help gal. I glanced at my son. I’d bought him his first cell phone five minutes ago, and he was diddling with it, totally button happy. For pity’s sake, what if he got irremovable Spanish subtitles?

He grinned at me. “I made three calls, got 42 texts from my friends, and found a Monopoly game. Isn’t that cool?”

Swell. His came with a manual that was lying untouched in the box. I didn’t even know how to answer my phone, let alone rule the world with it.

I tried one more time with the clerk. “Are you sure there’s no manual? I’m not technologically intuitive.”

“There’s online help if you really need it.”

Her tone suggested I needed help all right, but not the kind I could get from a computer.

I wanted to tell her I could make lasagna, carry on a conversation with my husband, and still know when the dog was consuming the TV remote in the next room. I’m intuitive, just not like a teenage techno-whiz.

Every person is different, with varying strengths and weaknesses, intellect, and gifts. Can we really label anything universally intuitive?

Ah, but we can.

Scripture reminds us that the knowledge of God’s existence is intuitive—plain to all, because God has made it plain (Romans 1:19). The apostle Paul says, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:20).

No matter what technology comes along to frazzle me or help me, dazzle me or harm me, it’s not a surprise to God. He’s way beyond it. He’s the beginning and end of everything. God’s undeniable signature lives in the fabulous complexity, fierce power, and wondrous beauty of the universe around us, and that is intuitive.

Even if I don’t understand my smartphone.

Erin Taylor Young is a freelance author, humorist, and praying mom who lives with her family in Oklahoma. www.erintayloryoung.com

Related Tags: busyness, challenges, communication, culture, faith, humor, media, technology, trust, trusting God

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