Sometimes when I look back and survey where my head has been on things, I wonder how God let me live and continued to use me. Our fallen nature ensures we will always get some things wrong when God speaks to us. God is still able and willing to use us. So long as you are wise enough to avoid insisting something you believe at the moment is some eternal divine truth of prophecy, and instead you simply share it as your impression of what His powerful Presence says in your soul, you leave words that you can eat without much indigestion.
For the longest time I confused the vision of what was possible with what God intended to do with me. While it remains possible that someday I will pastor a congregation of people who are actually within geographic proximity, it is not a significant probability right now. My mission and calling is to this virtual parish first. Even so, sometimes I struggle to find words to express where that mission is taking me. In an effort to remain accountable, I wanted to rehash and refresh a few expectations I’ve mentioned in the past.
Even if you aren’t heart-led, you could extrapolate what you see happening with consumer technology. If technology moves too fast, there is a predictable level of friction in broad consumer acceptance. There has to be a justification that lubricates the acceptance of radical changes, something that entices the consumer to go along with the plans. The landscape is littered with the ruins of superior consumer technology that failed because of crappy marketing that offered no incentive to keep the good or leave the bad. Today we labor under some truly awful technology that was the price for something everyone just had to have. Once the competition is beaten out of the market, only a failure to cover every nook and cranny of the market prevents monopoly. No one can do everything well.
But there are other factors at work, most notably a broad economic decline. This is a fight Microsoft cannot win. Consumers have less to spend even on the most basic utility technology of daily existence. Sure, folks pay less at the doorway these days, but in the long run that doesn’t change economic fundamentals. Trying to extract profit by moving your cash registers to a different place in the marketing process is not going to work. At some point the marketing enticement starts to feel like coercion and even robbery.
We aren’t talking about a total economic collapse so popular in nightmare fiction where liquidity evaporates into a desert, but this is a general reduction in the water level that means you need a smaller boat to keep from hitting the bottom. The big tech companies might well survive, but not without some major changes. Those changes entail huge risks and I sense that they have made massive errors here, because they’ve lost touch with human nature in the broader sense. They’ve been spoiled by high times and general high prosperity. All they know is that narrow thread of human nature under those limited conditions, and can’t understand the market when those conditions change.
Different individual users will respond in their own way, in their own time. However, the general level of pain from using Windows in any form will get worse. As I watch this business of forcing Windows 10 down consumers’ throats, the market share most certainly will decrease in some measure. The nearest competition is a long step away, but there is competition and it’s a whole lot cheaper in the one sense that matters: long term cash outflow.
I’m not making a sales pitch, just an observation. You’ll have to find your own solution. Most of you reading this will be up against that pain level sooner or later, and it will be long term. I honestly believe the marketroids at Microsoft are stupid enough to push harder and harder until refusing to accept Windows 10 means bricking your devices. The problem is that the technology is so poor that Windows 10 itself is now bricking devices. Perhaps not in the sense of permanently unusable, but the devices no longer work as intended, and certainly not for what they were purchased. All I can do is offer the few answers I use for myself and that may not be right for you.
But this is just a part of a much bigger picture. The same broad economic failure is going to shake up things all across the broader system of government and business. The folks who haven’t lost their minds realize that the future is in atomizing and spinning things off into smaller systems, not more aggregation. If it uses money, it needs to be smaller. But if you don’t know how to break up a big system and delegate to keep the connections alive across the bigger community, you will lose it all. If all you value is the material trappings, then you will soon have nothing. This is the age when you need to recognize the value of human relations against mere material possessions. Whatever hope we have in keeping something distinct alive through this time of tribulation will require a powerful investment in people, and a decentralizing delegation of all but the very most essential elements reflecting the nature of what gives your thing it’s identity.
I’ve taken my own medicine on this. Your virtual pastor has built the most ephemeral and gauzy fabric of connection possible. It’s all tentative; it rests on the context of whether my offerings here meet your needs. That’s the wave of the future, all the more so for we who live by the heart. When we share in our hearts, I’ll have more of everything else than I could ever use, and I suspect you’ll find it so in your own existence.