Connecting with Culture
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But recently our friends’ faces looked a little less familiar. They have been transformed into versions of themselves in their old age.
It’s all thanks to FaceApp, the latest addition to our smartphones that’s claiming more of our time than we’d probably like to admit. The ‘neural network’ technology ingeniously takes any photo of your face and adds wrinkles, grey hair, and a little more gauntness to grant you a tantalising glimpse of your future self.
With more people than ever living into (and beyond) their 90s, it’s very possible that many of us will be around to see FaceApp’s predictions of our future selves literally come to life. Perhaps on a deeper level this is part of the fascination: FaceApp not only offers us a view of what we will look like, but allows us to imagine the wiser, more satisfied versions of ourselves we believe we can be.
As I look at the FaceApp version of my older self, I want to believe that I can be as wise and satisfied with life as the man staring back at me seems to be. I want to believe that each day I take a step towards becoming that man. Except that while my own ageing is guaranteed, the kind of person I am becoming is not.
In the ordinariness of life I struggle to choose a box of cereal from the supermarket aisle, let alone weigh the consequences of the kind of person I will become if I go for Weetos over Weetabix. It would be exhausting and impossible to make every decision a matter of such weighty consequence.
And yet, if FaceApp does get me to pause to at least consider the kind of person I am becoming – and who or what is at work in that process with me – I’m grateful for it.
For the Christian, however young or old we are, it’s a chance to remember that we believe in a God who is bringing us more and more to life even as we age. While our physical bodies will become more frail, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. God has power to help us become the kinds of people we long to be – wiser, more satisfied, and more aware of his presence with us, be it standing in a supermarket aisle or smiling in a nursing home.
Tim leads a Navigators student ministry in Nottingham. He plays in a death metal band and occasionally tweets @convocafeuk.