Let’s Go to the App Store
by Pastor George Van Alstine

Grandson Sean was determined to bring Judy and me into the 21st century, so he persuaded us to join him in a family plan in which we all have iPhones. I think mine is 3G, though I wouldn’t know the difference. What I do with my iPhone is make and receive telephone calls. . . period. I don’t do games, photos, music or GPS navigation. I’m not comfortable using it to go on the internet; I wait until I’m relaxed at home in front of my PC. Sean showed me how to get Direct TV programs, but looking at “The Big Bang Theory” or the Lakers on a 3 x 5 screen seems weird.

My iPhone’s home screen has about twenty colorful little pictures. I’m told these represent the “apps”* I already have and that I can enter a wonderful new world by pushing one of them. I’m afraid I’ll push the wrong one and blow up the whole city. One of these little pictures is labeled “App Store,” and I’ve heard I can access over 700,000 more apps by shopping in that store. Exploring all these option would take several lifetimes. So, I use this phenomenal little instrument just as a telephone — which is marginally more use than a chimpanzee would make of it.

SO FAR! 2013 will be my iPhone discovery year. I’m determined to master this. When I was a kid in a highchair, I learned to use a fork to eat mashed potatoes, then pieces of chopped meat, finally even corn niblets. I remember the day when I discovered a new fork app by poking my brother and making him cry. I’m sure this iPhone will soon submit to me, once I put my mind to it. And it’s something I have to do. Having apps you don’t use seems morally wrong — maybe even a misdemeanor.

* * * * *

Seventy-six years ago, I was born, shaped by my father’s and mother’s genes. People said I favored her side, a spittin’ image of Uncle Fred. But more importantly, I was born in God’s image. This new, unique being was the latest edition of an iPerson, a machine more complex and wonderful than an iPhone.

I was born with a lot of apps, which would allow me to learn, solve problems, adapt and adjust to various people and situations. I even had a built-in App Store, stocked with an unlimited number of interests, gifts, potentialities, emotions and creative new ideas.

It’s scary to realize how few of the apps within my reach I’ve actually put into practice. I tend to use my iPerson just for the minimal routines of living day-to-day life. Having apps I don’t use seems morally wrong — maybe even a spiritual misdemeanor. I hope to make 2013 the year for the discovery and exploration of new iPerson apps.

* For those even less computer-savvy than I, “app” stands for “application.”