As I keep my eyes open for ideas for these bulletins, sometimes it seems more than coincidental that two items cross my social media streams so perfectly to highlight a potential subject. In one case, it was a random tweet that someone I follow must have retweeted combined with a Gawker article where the author explains an electronic wrestling match he had with, of all people, the late Steve Jobs (of Apple fame).
I'm not sure why those two didn't inspire the article the week I ran into them, but luckily I keep a note with sermon and article ideas…and I was reminded of them again today as I scanned through my list of potential topics.
I mean, you really don't want another article connected with the presidential election do you? 🙂
First, the tweet. This is what @lanalue wrote (Sorry…I didn't grab a screen capture at the time):
You will only experience the amount of freedom that u are willing to surrender to God.
Hmmm…seems contradictory, doesn't it? How many soldiers would say that they surrendered for freedom? You don't surrender for freedom…since it means (if you aren't just shot) you are going to become a prisoner of war.
Yet @lanalue is telling us that our freedom is directly proportional to our surrender to God (not inversely proportional as we would expect).
So, how can Steve Jobs shed more light on this apparent contradiction?
Short story is that Apple isn't known to offer a whole bunch of "freedom" in it's ecosystem of devices and operating systems, especially its mobile iOS ones. So when Gawker writer Ryan Tate saw an iPad ad connecting the word "revolution" with it, Tate wrote a rather scathing e-mail to the head of one of the most valuable companies in the U.S.:
If Dylan was 20 today, how would he feel about your company?
Would he think the iPad had the faintest thing to do with "revolution?"
Revolutions are about freedom.1
Now, I can't imagine that Tate expected a response, but Steve Jobs wasn't your average or normal CEO, and a few hours later this arrived in Tate's inbox:
Yep, freedom from programs that steal your private data. Freedom from programs that trash your battery. Freedom from porn. Yep, freedom. The times they are a changin', and some traditional PC folks feel like their world is slipping away. It is.2
Apparently not appreciating who he was conversing with…or even the fact he got a response, Tate fired right back at Steve Jobs…and I'll save you from the majority of that e-mail (including profanity), just sharing the final, short paragraph:
And you know what? I don't want "freedom from porn." Porn is just fine! I think my wife would agree.3
If I had been Steve Jobs I would have probably started ignoring the needlessly contentious correspondent, but he didn't…and (in part) responded:
And you might care more about porn when you have kids…4
Tate's next e-mail didn't speak to porn, but he quickly sent another follow-up note before Steve Jobs had a chance to respond to the previous one. In part Tate wrote:
PS I'm not a porn fiend. But come on. I don't think it's going to f**k up my kids if someone in my house looks at a porn clip. And if my kids have an iPad you're d**n sure there'll be no porn on it!5
Steve Jobs didn't write anything else about porn, but Tate did make this comment before his multi-e-mail tirade was over:
PS And yes I may sound bitter. Because I don't think it's a technical issue at all — it's you imposing your morality, about porn, about 'trade secrets,' about technical purity in the most bizarre sense.6
We Christians are used to accusations of "imposing [our] morality," aren't we? Although not germane to this article, I did want to share Steve Job's final line in his final e-mail:
By the way, what have you done that's so great? Do you create anything, or just criticize others work and belittle their motivations?7
After my condensed version of the dialogue, who do you side with? The late Steve Jobs and his company's prohibition of porn? Or Ryan Tate and his cries for freedom to ingest porn on Apple's devices?
I'm not asking from a governmental sense. You can fully support our Constitution's first amendment (which isn't even applicable within the offerings of a private business), but was Steve Jobs implicitly noting something that @lanalue also expressed?
As you ponder that, I want to tell you a short, true story. A tale about a 14 year-old boy visiting Portland, Maine with a friend and his family. It was a bit cool and cloudy, and he and his friend were walking through a park. The young teen saw a crumpled piece of paper on the ground, picked it up, and flattened it out.
And saw a naked picture of a woman in a very suggestive pose. The most he had ever seen before that was bra ads in a Sears and Roebuck catalog.
Although not a Christian, this boy was a very good kid…some might argue a goody-goody two-shoes. So much so that some kids would get permission to do something by mentioning this boy was doing it too.
Yet this one chance encounter with a discarded piece of pornography meant years of hiding magazines under his mattress, most of which he and his friend "borrowed" from a neighbor without the neighbor's knowledge.
TMI? I'm sure you are smart enough to know who that kid was. The grown up version is glad he can let his blond curly-haired boy use his iPad and there is no chance he'll see pornography (short of somehow using the browser to navigate to a site dad never goes to). He's glad that Steve Jobs stuck to his guns because when it comes to sin:
Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:34-36, English Standard Version. See also Romans 6:15-23.)
"Freedom" to view pornography is freedom to become a slave. Pornographers prey on hormonal youth and adults, hoping they'll trip over it in spam e-mails, web sites, convenience store displays, and so on…and they'd love to add Apple devices to the mix. For those ensnared, and Ryan Tate, I pray that the Son sets them free…free indeed.
1 Tate, R. (2010, May 15). Steve Jobs Offers World "Freedom From Porn." Gawker. Retrieved November 9, 2012, from http://gawker.com/5539717/
5 Ibid. Tate did not mask his profanity, I did.