Is the Kingdom of God present in a Blue Screen of Death?

What you see above is the new Windows 8 “Blue Screen of Death” (properly known as a “Stop Error”) that users will see when their tablet, laptop, or desktop crashes for some reason. Macs and Linux machines have their own equivalent Kernel Panic screens as do just about every device and program on the market.

The universal response to these messages is massive frustration, fingernail-biting angst, deep regret over not saving, and so on.

Glimpses of the Kingdom

My church is currently teaching through the Gospel of Mark on Sundays, and I’m continually struck by the fact that “the Kingdom of God” seems to have its best chance of visibly inbreaking into this world when people are vulnerable.

Sometimes the people are helpless victims of disease (Mark 3:1-6) or demons (Mark 5:1-20) whom Jesus chooses to help based on his own inclination or the request of others. But sometimes the victims choose to be vulnerable like Jairus (Mark 5:21-43) who seems to risk his reputation to seek Jesus’s help, and the woman sandwiched in the same pericope who risks discovery of her uncleanness.

Either way, they are nail-biting, angst-inducing situations. But it seems that when someone chooses to reframe a their physical situation as something they can bring before God, God’s future kingdom breaks in, people are healed, and God is glorified.

Reframing Our Situations

This leads me to think that when we have technology breakdowns, we can choose to see them as frustrations or as opportunities for glimpses of God’s kingdom.

The malfunctioning device in front of can be seen as simply something that needs fixing or a tiny fissure in the grand illusion that says all we need is better devices and everything will be okay. The next time you see a BSOD or error message, stop just long enough to see the break in the universe, then tug at it for just a bit, and perhaps you’ll get a glimpse of what God is doing in the world through his Son and by his Spirit.

For now, I’ll leave you with this ridiculous version of the Mac “Spinning Beachball of Death

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John Dyer

In my day job, I work at Dallas Theological Seminary, and at night I write Bible software for countries whose leaders could be called "overlords." This one time, I wrote a book about technology and Christian faith. You can find out more about what I'm up to at