Bit by Bit


A computer taught me about “spiritual stickmen” versus the full gospel picture.

Our family recently acquired a personal computer, and I enthusiastically set about learning to use it. Having artistic interests, one thing that I found fascinating was a paint program. The first day I had great fun using circles and lines of varying sizes to create simple pictures. The magic of computers was mine!

A couple of days later, as I was exploring the various functions of this same program, I discovered a wealth of type styles and sizes that I could call up and reproduce on the screen. Then I found some preset designs and borders. Now I could make signs and posters. I had arrived!

Eventually, I found in the manual some detailed pictures that could be created with my program. I tried but found it impossible to reproduce them because of the clumsiness of drawing with the mouse attachment. I decided that I must lack some basic coordination gene and resolved to stick to what I already could do.

Then I learned about a command that would magnify an area of any picture so that it could be added to or taken from one small dot at a time. With this knowledge I finally, painstakingly created a picture that was the equal of any example in the manual.

I can’t help but think of the gospel as I recall the steps of learning about my computer program. Sometimes we may think that we’ve “arrived” spiritually—that there is no more that the Church can possibly offer us. We are content just making spiritual stick men. But as we progress line upon line, day by day, we can find previously unimagined vistas of joy and knowledge opening up to us.

I am still learning new ways to use my computer. But, more importantly, my experience with it has convinced me of the need to continue daily in learning new ways to make the gospel a living, directing force in my life.

[illustration] Computer art by Neil Brown, photography by John Luke