catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 9, Num 10 :: 2010.05.14 — 2010.05.27


Restoring the connection

It has been said that the average person spends two weeks of his or her life waiting at traffic lights.  I think I’ve just spent what seems like ten years of mine on hold with a telecommunications company about an incorrect mobile phone bill.  Yes: and I’ve just been served a debt collection notice of $560 for a supposedly free upgrade.

After six months and twelve phone calls, my phone bill has become an international incident.  I have spoken with call centers in India, The Philippines, Canada and the U.S.A.  I have just been transferred to Perth via Melbourne via Brisbane.  An automated voice tells me I have been placed in a short queue.  It seems no one knows what to do with me.  I am an anomaly in their system. 

And once again I am put on hold.

I wonder what Beethoven and Mozart would have said if someone had told them that their famous compositions would be used as electronic hold music in the 21st century.  Far from pacifying irate customers, the sound of “Fur Elise” and “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” played on a computer generated glockenspiel is enough to make even the most reasonable of people slightly demented after half an hour.  I think, at that moment, Beethoven would be grateful that he went deaf.

Another automated voice gives me a sequence of numbers to choose from, but none of them seem to match my particular inquiry.  Another one of life’s ironies — telecommunications, but no one will actually speak with me.

I try to respond to the mechanical voice: “I would like to speak to a human being please.”  But she tells me she didn’t quite get that and would I mind choosing from the options again.  I tell her there is no option for my problem.  I would like to hear a real person.  But I am told politely and dispassionately to please choose again from one of the options.

Maybe this is The Matrix after all.  And I am waging a war against the machines.

I begin by ordering three large ham and pineapple pizzas and a garlic bread.  The voice tells me that she is sorry, but she didn’t quite catch that and asks me to select from the options.

So I order a medium supreme pizza without anchovies and then ask for a small pizza Bianca with Gorgonzola and a diet coke.  She says she’s sorry she didn’t quite catch that and asks me again to hold while she puts me through to the first available operator.

I feel like Neo hacking his way into the system.  I’ve found a way to reprogram the agent.

When I finally get through to a human being, I’ve been put through to the wrong department.  This is corporate sales and not bill inquiries.  I am redirected and put on hold again.

Trapped inside this fiber optic Tower of Babel, I fear I may never escape.  That no one will ever reach me.  That my voice will reverberate in cyberspace without ever being heard.  Words have been my life, but they serve me no purpose here.  There is no one listening, no one to hear my case.  It seems in this brave new world of technology, the human condition is still the same.

The eternity placed in the human heart cries out for a connection more primal than any social networking system can deliver, yet humanity has muted the one voice we most need to hear and filtered its truth through too many channels.  We let its message go through to a voicemail we never retrieve.  We tune into alternative signals, virtual communities, online intimacy.  And the more information super highways we construct, the greater the potential for disconnection, unless we build them to make straight in the deserts a highway for our God.

And God, the ultimate communicator, who spoke and it was, signposted the way, the truth, the life, through the cries of the Word made flesh. 

‘Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani’

My God My God why have you abandoned me?

Cut off from his own father, the son chose to be abandoned on our behalf — chose isolation, alienation and disconnection, so that we would never be abandoned, never separated from the love of God.

There was no network coverage for him on Calvary.  He had to listen to God’s silence, have his cries unanswered, so that humanity could once again hear the voice of God and have connection restored.

He stretched out his arms on a cross and created a flat earth drawing all things unto himself so that the world could be united through space and time  — a communication system so finely tuned that no one need ever cry out to God and be unanswered again.

He endured silence and held death in his hands, so that we may speak with anointed tongues and be welcomed into the presence of God.

And those witnesses who heard his voice knew of the ancient scripture from which he cried. And those with ears to hear would know its promised end.

Posterity shall serve Him.

Future generations will be told about the Lord.

They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, for he has done it.

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