The WiFi version consisted of a long list of numbers ending with “b” while the new version ended with “n” which translated into: I need a new thousand-dollar laptop so it can work with the $150 “new” router. A few years ago Microsoft had a similar problem: people preferred the older XP version of Windows since Vista, practically speaking, seemed to be a step backwards. Even now, China manufactures new technology, yet prefers to buy old, tried and true hardware. Is the “never ending growth” of technology a myth? The crashed Tech Stock fad at the turn of the millennium seemed to say so.
Let's take your favorite hand held doojimahickie.. the little stick you use to write with is called a “stylus”. The last time Humanity used a stylus to write with was when we kept records by carving words into a shallow box of mud. Resorting to the mud box stylus wasn't enough for Apple, however. At the release of the iPhone, Jobs wanted to go even farther back in time, using the primordial tool which mom banished us for using at the dinner table: our fingers. With technology, an advancement is starting to become a reversion and a reversion an advancement.
In my global wanderings around Asia, I recently stumbled upon a network of Christian fellowships that was actually borne out of the Chinese Church. It's the fellowship started by Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. Their sustained growth and strength in Christ seems far more Biblical-simple, and far more stable, than even the ministry methods of Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois.. which reminds me of the All Star shoes from Converse.
Chuck Taylor All Stars, as they are often called, were originally a pioneer shoe developed for basketball. All Stars aren't used in basketball as originally intended, yet have remained a staple casual shoe for over half a century, with a market reliability comparable to coffee and lipstick. Why? While Converse thought they were researching for basketball foot garb, they were unknowingly using the ideal test arena for casual footwear. Basketball is a slightly exaggerated version of the same actions we use daily.. stepping, turning, stopping, jumping, and quick sprints. The ideal arena for basketball shoes seems to have been the ghetto courts where kids play for six hours every day, straight after school. Perhaps that's why basketball players dress from the “hood”: it's where the marketable basketball shoes were actually tested and proven.
Hybels has done wonders for the American Church, but I suspect that his work was for “ministry structure” as much as the All Stars were for basketball. Bill has actually taught us the importance of mutual understanding. Listen to parishioners, and non-parishioners, just like Jesus did. Understand others and make sure you can be understood. Maybe, China's culture was the ideal test arena for reverting to true, Biblical Church building structure, while America's “new” denominationalism was the perfect problem within which to re-learn healthy communication.