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Breathing In Apple's Crushed World

May 15th, 2024 | 2 min. read

By Ian Harber

breathing-in-apples-crushed-world

If you expected there to be an enormous amount of content reacting to Apple’s recent Crush! ad for their new iPad Pro, you were right. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth one minute of your time.

 

As many have pointed out, it seems like Apple is finally saying the quiet part out loud. While they meant to show how many things the iPad can do, they actually demonstrated how the iPad crushes every analog instrument of human creativity and ingenuity and replaces it with a cold, lifeless slab of glass and metal. From pianos to paint and everything in between, every tactile means of creation is literally crushed into a $1399 pixel pusher. It was depressing to watch.

While many other pieces will focus on what this means on a cultural level, I want to focus on what this means for the church. Because it’s not often that the tech industry serves you their motivations on such a carefully crafted platter as Apple does in this ad. It’s an opportunity to reflect on what we, as the church, are doing.

The reality is that many churches are nearly indistinguishable from this ad. Like Apple, they have taken the tactile elements of our faith and put them under the hydraulic press of consumerism in order to standardize the experience for the convenience of a passive audience. But as you see in the ad, this has happened with everything. Everything has been crushed. Everything has been replaced with glass and metal. And Big Tech’s intent is to continue to replace everything that hasn’t been replaced already. So when we show up to church and everything there has also been replaced with metal and glass, it’s no wonder we find the church just as shallow, cold, and lifeless as the rest of the world. 

It’s no coincidence that Jesus left physical things with us. He left us with bread and wine, water, a book, and people speaking words. He left us with a community and songs and prayer. When we shorten the length of our service to the length of a Netflix show, read from screens, skip the Lord’s Supper, push baptism to the side, and perform more than we pray, we are leaving people without the means of grace that Jesus left us and crushing the church into a commodity. 

The church has the opportunity to be the place where people can opt out of Big Tech’s hydraulic press. To show up and be embodied, to be with people, to create, and to be nourished by the Word and Spirit.

What I’m trying to say is that we are exhausted by Apple Church. And the main reason we’re exhausted by Apple Church is that we already live in Apple World. The church has conformed itself to the patterns of Apple World instead of transforming Apple World to the patterns of Christ. So when church becomes Apple Church, is it any wonder that we’ve formed consumers instead of disciples—people prone to be captured by whichever political persuasion is their preferred flavor instead of being conformed to the love of Christ?

Someone on Twitter took the Apple ad and reversed it. Instead of the hydraulic press crushing artistic means of creating beauty into an iPad, it shows the iPad expanding into those tools. Just this simple reversal is almost a breath of fresh air.

 

That’s what we need the church to be. To reverse the hydraulic press of Big Tech. To take us out of the metal and glass and return us to the real world, to our bodies, to art and creativity, to beauty. The church should expand our worlds, not crush them. It should point our eyes up and out, and encourage us to use our hands to serve others and make beautiful things. The church can be the place to breathe in the air of God’s Spirit of life in a world of metal and glass.

Ian Harber

Ian is a marketing manager at Endeavor and is a digital marketing practitioner with 10 years of experience. He has written about faith and technology, deconstruction and reconstruction for The Gospel Coalition and Mere Orthodoxy as well as appearing on podcasts such as Reconstructing Faith, The Alisa Childers Podcast, Love Thy Neighborhood, The Living Room Disciple, Everything Just Changed, and more. Additionally, Ian has contributed to the book, Before You Lose Your Faith: Deconstructing Doubt in the Church (TGC, 2021) and is the author of an upcoming a forthcoming book about deconstruction with InterVarsity Press (2024). Ian lives in Denton, Texas with his wife, Katie, and son, Ezra and is a member at The Village Church Denton.

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