…or hands off pastoring?

There is a new plant in the garden of the library at the University of Queensland in Australia.  If you stroke it, then the garden’s inbuilt watering system will deliver a dose of water to the plant.  However, if you want to feed it you must visit the plant on Facebook – from anywhere in the world, and the relevant nutrients will be dispensed.

Doubtless this is technologically brilliant and appealingly quirky.  However, isn’t there a sinister edge to it as well?  Once we start caring for things at a distance…how long before we do the same for people? How long before we start discharging our parental responsibilities with the click of a mouse, or how long before our children visit us in a chatroom rather than the living room?

As a preacher I am organically connected to the people amongst whom I preach.  If I say one thing on a Sunday and do something completely different on a Monday – they are all too aware of it. I must live with the consequences of my preaching – and do so amongst those whom God has called me to serve.

The same, of course, does not apply to a virtual relationship.  For all you know I might be floating on the swimming pool, or tending my virtual garden in Australia whilst I write this.

In fact, I am at my desk, and must return to the small matter of a real sermon to prepare for real people…