Wednesday is for Thinking
Your people are like mine. They are addicted to technology like crack cocaine. They don’t think they can live without it. They are never far from it and can’t imagine a day without it. And just like cocaine, the technology they are almost surgically attached to makes a thousand false promises to them everyday, always delivering just enough thrill to encourage them to make one more purchase, one more investment.
“You are significant because you post (to facebook, twitter, instagram).”
“You are important because people want to connect with you (on facebook, twitter, instagram, your phone, your text)”
“The more connections you have the more important you are.”
“The more people write about your posts, respond to your tweets, favorite your ideas, share your images, talk about what you posted, the more significant you are.”
Pastors themselves are not immune. Neither they nor their congregations can turn their phones off. They can’t not respond to a text, immediately. They can’t live a day without their phone or computer. Who are we kidding—they feel naked without their phone and computer. For teenagers, it is a greater punishment to take away their access to technology than access to the family car. But it isn’t just teenagers. I have seen twenty-somethings, and thirty-somethings, and sixty-somethings act with same addictive behavior as a teenage girl with a crush who simply MUST talk to her best friend about every look, word, or behavior of the object of her crush or the people around him.
And the end result is a creeping, darkening, desperate loneliness in the midst of all the mad rush to be “connected.”
But it also crowds out everything else that is important in life
and that adds value to our lives as Christians.
There is no time to read, no time to meditate, no time to converse with others, no time to pray and, ironically, no time for fellowship. All of these things get crowded out of or pushed to the hurried margins of life. I remember when I first started preaching decades ago. On my shelf were 24-30 inches of commentaries on the gospel I was working through. I would translate and read and then begin the process of carving meat from those 24 inches of books. Suddenly, it seemed, all my time was gone and I had to organize the actual message I would preach. Where did the time go?
Eventually, I settled on a different and saner pattern. I would read and reread the text, translating the text would slow down my process but enrich my meditation. Then, I wouldn’t read everything. Instead, I would read three or four books. The first would approach the text linguistically, the second approached the text theologically, and the third would approach the text pastorally. Suddenly, there was time to actually think, to actually brood over and pray over the text.
My fear is that in the technologically dense world of our culture, fewer and fewer Christians have any margin in their entertainment filled lives, and in their social media driven appetites, and in their relentless pursuit of superficial friends, to actually think about anything very long.
It is killing the soul of people and it’s a huge problem.
The video below captures it well. (Catch the irony of this last sentence!)
- What is the greater challenge for your people, a day without their phone or a day without their Bible?
- … a day without texting or a day without The Text?
- … a day without an electronic face or a day without face to face conversation?
- … a day without media-streamed news flashes or a day without Spirit inspired insight?