Is Your Phone Devouring You?
by Kim Allen, Director of SHINE Children's Ministry
Last week, I probably spent 20 minutes of my work day trying to get my smart phone to work after an overnight update. This seems rather elementary for most techies, but for me, it becomes an act of war. Frustration is an understatement. Friends, the struggle is real!
For all the hoopla and convenience of having this gadget that does amazing things, if truth be told, it is a real time-sucker for me. Not only that, my smartphone is often a distraction, a temptation, and an excuse. It is a distraction from true intimacy with others in favor of seeing who has posted in the last three hours. It is a temptation to compare my life (for better or for worse) to someone else, whose circumstances I can only see screen-deep. It is an excuse for avoiding responsibility that awaits me: vacuuming and helping with homework and paying bills. Time flies by and I look up and ask myself: where did that 20 minutes just go?
These “tools” have become so expected, so commonplace, that we think nothing of seeing couples on a date or friends out to dinner, with everyone sitting at table, heads down, tapping away. It is astonishing to me, if only because I’m old enough to remember a time that this wasn’t the case. Never mind the fact that sixth graders now carry the world (and all it offers) around in their pockets and most two year olds can operate these machines more efficiently than I.
We are living in a technological frontier in many ways. Like our forefathers who blazed the trail into the unknown wilderness, we are blazing a trail in the technological world and the rewards and consequences of this journey are yet unknown. In Christian circles, thought leaders are exploring these ideas honestly and coming up with some big picture ideas that must be considered if we are to live with honesty and intentionality.
Tony Reinke, in 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You, says, “The more distracted we are digitally, the more displaced we become spiritually.” And it’s everyone’s problem. Have you ever read John Piper’s, the famous preacher, comment about his phone? “I wake up and the devil is sitting on my face.” This statement reminds me of Peter’s warning in I Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Are there days when you feel like your phone is devouring you? I know I feel like this, more days than not.
The good news is that we are all in this together; we can remedy this out-of-control trend and return to a more manageable and sane approach to technology. Our own Dr. Case Thorp will be walking our congregation through Andy Crouch’s new book, The Tech Wise Family, which offers not just a list of rules, but a comprehensive approach to wisely using this gift that God has given us. Join us on Sundays in June during the 9:45 hour in the Edington Ministry Center for a fresh and hopeful look at technology for families. fpco.org/techwise
And bring your phone--you’ll want to take notes! That is, if you can get it to work after that overnight update.
The Breadbox is our Children's Ministry email. This monthly publication arrives chock-full information about SHINE, but also tips and resources on how you can disciple your small people.