Apple Computer is certainly making a mint as it sells us those ever-present and oh-so-popular "i"-gadgets - i-Macs, i-Pods, and most recently i-Phones. And once a person heeds the call of wisdom and switches to using a Macintosh computer (as I recently have :-), Apple's "i"-centered world expands greatly in the software - iTunes, iCal, iChat, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iLife, and iWeb.
Could there be a theological point hiding in these "i"-gadgets and "i"-programs?
The comic strip "Mother Goose and Grimm" may very well have hit upon a theological message. Whether it intended to or not, I don't know, but I can't resist pointing it out. You can see the MGG strip from 9/7/07 at the archive section of the MGG website - www.grimmy.com. (Click here and select the strip for 09/07/07.)
The strip shows Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Eve hands an apple to a puzzled-looking Adam and says, "It's the latest thing from Apple...it's called an i-Fruit."
Now I never would have seen this, had not a former member sent it in her regular mailing of comic strips to our church office. I probably wouldn't have thought much of it, had not I just taken the plunge into the new, invigorating world of Apple's gadgets and software. And I certainly would never put down the way cool computers, gadgets, and software of Apple!
However, "i-Fruit" most certainly captures the ego-centered seeds and self-serving fruits of the Garden of Eden! Once Adam and Eve took their bites from the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened to see themselves in the place of God - to be "like God." Instead of focusing their fear, love, and trust - as they were created to do - on the blessed Holy Trinity, human beings would instead focus their lives on a not-so-holy trinity - Me, Myself, and I. The seeds of "i-Fruit."
From those first bites of that single forbidden fruit have come bushels and bushels of pains, illnesses, hurts, broken relationships, diseases, disappointments, destruction, devastated lives, and even death itself. All because human beings - Adam, Eve, and we ourselves - are so focused on "Me, Myself, and I." As Luther expressed it, sin is being "curved in on oneself." "i-Fruit."
For this reason, I thank God that He did not leave us to wallow in the fruits of our "i-Fruit"! When the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, took on our human flesh and blood, He was certainly not curved in on Himself. No, He directed His full attention to His Father and His equally full attention to us - to healing us from the poisons of our "i-Fruit", to "un-curving" us so that we can love the God who first loves us.
As we trust and rest in the forgiveness that our Lord Christ has won on the Cross and gives in His Gospel and Sacraments, we are given a new fruit - the juicy, sweet fruit of His eternal life. That fruit and that life help us take our eyes off of ourselves and put them on God and on our neighbor. As our Lord teaches us in Matthew 22, our lives are best lived - indeed, designed to be lived - as we love God above all things and love our neighbor as ourselves. No mention of loving self. No mention of "i-Fruit." Now that is a different, more salutary kind of fruit!
So, one way to enjoy these wonderful gadgets and programs from Apple may be to just ignore that little "i" in front of them. Certainly the best way to enjoy the life that our God gives us is to ignore that little "i" in ourselves - at least as much as God in His grace and forgiveness enables and strengthens us to do so. Life is best lived with faith in God and in love toward those around us.
As for truly enjoying my Apple gadgets and programs, well, I'll just keep in mind that the Bible doesn't say that the fruit in the Garden was an apple - it just says, "fruit." And as for the bite taken out of the apple in the Apple logo? Well, let's just remember that both Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit - and that means at least two bites. :-)