Just when I was getting comfortable living with my 1950’s mentality in the 2000’s I have read some unnerving articles about discoveries in the area of robotics. (This comes from the Greek word, “robotomy,” which is the surgical removal of one’s personality, a requirement for television golf commentators.) Putting me with technology is like mixing the Three Stooges with Shakespeare.  One of us is going to be insulted. I need special light just to match my socks.

My surgery last March was robotic. I had two main concerns, one physical and one mental. After the incision the next thing the surgeon did was install a high-definition camera in the  . . . uhh . . . area of concern. No problem! Let’s just open it up so the whole world can see my area of concern in high definition. My other concern was to overcome my mental image of robots which is based on the old television series, “Lost in Space,” not to mention C-3PO from the Star Wars movies. I know I was on some fine drugs during my surgery but I am convinced I heard the doctor say on several occasions, “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!”

These scientists are evidently fascinated by the concept of artificial intelligence. Where have these guys been? Don’t they know our government has been using artificial intelligence for years?  They are even experimenting using robotics to perform long distance surgery. A doctor in Cut Off, Louisiana can sit in surgery and through the combined efforts of telecommunications, video, robotics, and a cancelled tee time, operate on a patient in Belfry, Kentucky . . . minus the bats.

I can hear the doctor calling the hospital now . . . “You have reached the Sisters of Artificial Mercy and Virtual Surgery Hospital. If you need surgery, please press 1 now. If you would like to perform surgery, press 2. If you feel you have reached this number in error and would like to talk to an actual person, Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!”

Mayberry was the fictional setting for The Andy Griffith Show. One thing about the people in Mayberry. They had heart, even Otis.  Andy, Barney, Thelma Lou, Helen , and the gang all genuinely cared for each other.  They even expressed compassion when they interrupted the Mindlebright sisters during their Sunday afternoon talk on the Mayberry party line.  We could learn a lot from the people in Mayberry. Difficult to measure heart in a text or a tweet.

I am not against technology and I love my iPhone 6. I love Facebook because I can stay in touch with a lot of people, especially college friends and former students from my years in youth ministry. I love Skype and Facetime for staying in touch with family, especially when they are far away. My issue is when we spend more time reading our devices than we do developing our relationships.  It seems like today we want everything fast. The internet is fast, relationships take time.

How many times have you seen people in a restaurant at a table looking at their mobile devices more than they do the person/persons with them at the table? The really sad thing is they are probably texting the other people at the table. We have heard it said that kids today have it all. Yet, when you get right down to the heart of the matter . . . I wonder. You can’t kiss a child’s pain away or hug a hurting friend with a cell phone or an iPad. We may exist in a Star Wars world but we can’t really live without Mayberry people.

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