Oct. 7th, 2011

Okay, no, seriously, I do want to say a few things about Steve Jobs. I never met the guy and have no knowledge of who he really was or what he was like, but Steve Jobs has touched my life in a way that few other people have. I say this not at all because of his contributions to personal computing, although I am sure those have also affected me deeply, nor because of his contributions to how we listen to music, a thing that I confess to being something of a Luddite about. No, Steve Jobs has impacted my life, and a lot of other lives too, by being the single individual most responsible for bringing us the smart phone.

I am firmly convinced that hundreds of years from now, the creation of the modern phone will be regarded as more important and more transformative than, say, the creation of the home computer. Or the creation of telephony itself. Or the creation of the internet. All of these things are incredibly revolutionary and have brought great change to society. But the smart phone lies at the sweet-spot intersection of these technologies, bringing them all together in a way that has fundamentally altered the place of humanity in the world. By bringing us his vision of the phone, Steve Jobs has done more than invent a new device. He has invented a new humanity, who together with their phones are greater than they were without them.

This is why I choose not to see the smart phone as a technological breakthrough, but as a spiritual innovation. The promise of religion is that by adopting a set of beliefs and choices, we will join with something bigger than ourselves. The smart phone delivers on that promise, expanding the range of what we can do and say and know. I am grateful to Steve Jobs for bringing me the miracle of the smart phone, without which my life would be poorer.

Thank you, Steve Jobs, for putting Jesus in my pants.

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