It’s been interesting to follow the recent trials and tribulations of the US Library of Congress as they struggle to come to terms with 21st century technology.
It occurs to me that there are some interesting spiritual parallels with their current problems.
The Big Issue is with the way they’re handling electronic documentation attached to “Orphan Copyright Works“. Without going into detail (like they do here) the office provided online documents which contained sensitive data relating to old copyright applications. Their solution was the cyber-quivalent of ‘sticking white paper over it’. Naturally enough, the techies quickly found a way to steam the glue off and get to the information. (UPDATE: It seems the LoC has fixed the problem.) Here’s an example of how NOT to hide a document’s text.
The main problem here is that although the information is obscured from view, it still exists somewhere in the document, and will one day bubble to the surface. (Highlight the previous paragraph with your mouse to see what I mean.) There are many cases where companies have sent out documents containing ‘hidden text’ which communicates a very different message to the one the company intended.
The solution is to delete the information completely, or better still, republish the document from a source which doesn’t reveal the information. (Instead of sending the document with the white squares on it, you print it again, or photocopy it. In the LoC’s case, they should have just deleted the text.)
Uh, yeah. OK. So what’s the spiritual parallel?
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
It took a while for me to start to understand that concept in relation to sin in my life. If you accept that teaching, it means that God ‘redacts’ you – he ‘republishes’ you – so that it was as if sin didn’t exist in your life. There’s no ‘white stickers’. It’s not like the sin of your former life is hidden away somewhere, to re-emerge some day, in some awful public expose. Like the LoC.
However, that republishing comes at a price. Just like it costs to reprint a book, your redaction comes at a set, flat fee. The price is exactly: Jesus. And the printer is prepared to honour that fee until you get it right. In most cases, we get our money’s worth, and then some.
The ‘new creation’ is a powerful, popular concept that not many Christians – myself included – fully comprehend, much less take hold of. Once you can accept that your life is really washed clean by Christ’s blood, and all things have become new, not just covered over, you can stand in the light.
You’ll probably also end up with a smaller file size, too. But we’ll leave that for another Theo-tech lesson.