Hey You! Get off of my cloud.

Hey You! Get off of my cloud.
We didn’t know what to do when smart phones came out. The option to upgrade came to us in 2012. My husband was going to be working overseas with active-duty military as a mental health counselor and we wanted to be able to keep in touch while he was away. At the time, I said to myself, “I’m too old to learn something new, but I’m too young not to!” So, we made the leap, jumped onto the mobile World Wide Web, and now I can’t imagine communicating without this phone to which I am ridiculously attached.
The smart phone has made connecting with others easier and harder. It’s easier because of having instant access to the other 6.3 billion users across the world. It’s harder because of the ever-changing technology. Recently I received notice that Google was going to start deleting my older photos. Then Microsoft One Drive said my email cloud limit had been reached. Soon after, I got a similar notice about content on my iCloud apps. I had no idea there were so many different data storage structures that I needed to keep track of. Hah! At the rate of today’s advancements, there’s no keeping up with technology and the structures that support it.
However, building structures to pioneer advancing technology isn’t new to Erie. When America was entering the age of television; lawyer turned businessman Edward Lamb took a risk when he built WICU. It was the first building in the nation constructed specifically to broadcast television. Previous stations had been converted from radio stations or newspaper offices. At the time fewer than 2,000 television sets were in Erie. According to a later Erie Times News article, on March 15, 1949, the bishop of the Erie Catholic Diocese, the publisher of the Erie Dispatch and the founder of the Boston Store faced a lone camera and wished the pioneer station success. Bishop John Mark Gannon (later archbishop) prayed that the new station would be used “for the high purpose of disseminating TRUTH, BEAUTY and GOODNESS.”
Just like the age of TV needed new buildings to accommodate this new media, we are in another era needing multiple new structures for the ministry of the Church. We are in an age very similar to when Jesus said, new wine has to go into new wineskins. The concept of new wine needing new wineskins can be tied to being a pioneer in the sense that pioneers often need to adapt to new methods, ideas, and environments. Just as new wine, representing innovation or new ideas requires new wineskins to contain and support it, pioneers need to develop new structures to accommodate their pioneering efforts. Even though Erie isn’t known for embracing change; to effectively navigate uncharted territories, one must be flexible, and support innovation in order to bring about meaningful progress.
The Old Testament prophet Isaiah recognized this in his era. Isaiah 42:9 – “Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things, (new beginnings) I declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.” When we listen to and obey God’s word, we are prepared for the new things that will come to pass. How will Erie handle today’s new beginnings? How will the Church in Erie shift into the next era? History tells us we don’t need a new denomination, nor do we need a new pope. However, just like renovating an older home, it is possible to enter into a new era – without erasing the old. We must find a way to build on the original intent and firm foundation God has put in place here because God never changes, but His followers certainly should. Our understanding of Him should, as well. As children grow & mature physically, Jesus followers are to grow as the Holy Spirit unveils more and more revelation of Christ.
History also shows that as truth comes into focus, Erie has shifted. I’m still using a smart phone and am learning cool things about it from my kids. Erie is generating opportunity for entrepreneurs and new business ventures. Perhaps most importantly, the Church is creating space for God’s original intent that Pastors, heads of ministries, business owners, government officials and other leaders come together in prayer, pool their resources of human capital, and build the Kingdom in this Gem of a city!
Cindy Matta
For more stories about this Gem of a city, go to https://prayerie.org/gem-city-blog/