Everywhere I go I see them. Often I am one of them. People living through their phones.
You know what I’m talking about. The question is why?
Pastor calls it escapism; a refusal to think. Others blame boredom. Sometimes our addiction is legitimate – like when we need a map or to check the weather. But, really folks, how did we get to a place in our society where we possess neither the desire nor the ability to converse with the person standing in front of us?
I mean, we’ve got couples dating their phones as they sit together at dinner. We’ve got children who’ve ceased to beg for attention and succumbed to joining our zombified club with ipods and ipads of their own. When we’re at the bus stop we’re scrolling instead of acquainting ourselves with one another. When we’re crammed into sporting events we’ve got precious little conversation, but we’ve got entertainment scheduled down to the second for us as we wait for the next play.
Why? Are we really this dense? What in cursed camp cyberspace in wrong with us?
Perhaps Dr. Benjamin Carson has part of the answer for us. This is what he said at the presidential prayer breakfast on February 7, 2013:
“…PC (political correctness) is dangerous. This country, one of the founding principles, was freedom of thought and freedom of expression, and it (political correctness) muffles people. It puts a muzzle on them. And at the same time, it keeps people from discussing important issues while the fabric of their society is being changed. We cannot fall for that trick. And what we need to do is start talking about things. Things that are important…”
I think we’re scared. Yes, we’re lazy. But more than that, we’re scared. From the stranger at the bus stop to the person sitting in front of us at church to the child under our supervision, we’re afraid to share ourselves. We desperately fear rejection because we’ve been indoctrinated with a gospel of silence. Don’t ask, don’t tell, and then no one will hurt you or hate you, right? Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent. Let’s all just be quiet and stare at our phones. That way, no one will know what we think, how we feel, or how bad we suck – unless, of course, we post it on facebook. As if a person who stares a piece of plastic all day isn’t a moron.
Here’s the problem with that philosophy – a few people are still talking. It’s the bullies. The oppressors. The ones who decided we should all be quiet in the first place. Should we let them intimidate us into mindless silence under the guise of amuzement? I think not.
And maybe that’s just another excuse. It probably is, in fact. If so, do not accept it. Challenge me. Refute me. Dialogue with me. Do it to my face, not my phone, though.
Carson said that if we stop accepting excuses, eventually people will stop making them. Either way, let’s learn to examine our lives more often than we examine our phones. Let’s remind ourselves to think critically about everything we’re fed by the media, the church, the government, and the next-door neighbor. Let’s consider where and with whom we have influence and be purposeful within our sphere of influence – whether we’re in the elevator, the grocery store, the football game, or the kids’ ballet lesson. Let’s determine who (not what) it is that needs our attention and offer it generously. Let’s ask ourselves religiously, just what will we give the God of the Universe in return for the commodity called “time” that he’s give us in tremendous grace today? Let’s put away fear. Let’s learn how to love again.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. ~1 John 4:18
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