It Makes Sense
It makes sense. You’re still in the first generation of consumer cell phones. Of course you’re going to be addicted to them more than people will be in the future. You’re just—more comfortable with your phone. It makes uncomfortable elevator rides go quicker. Eating alone feels less awkward when scrolling through Facebook posts, as does dinner at the family reunion. For a little while, why is it so bad to join the catatonic masses with eyes-glazed by the flicker of their phones?
Why? Because you’re sacrificing your now for someone else’s yesterday. Everything you see online has already happened. You’re more content spending time watching a video or getting mad at a status that happened in the past than actually living where you actually are. The vicious cycle worsens: the more you envelop yourself in your phone, the harder it is to break out and interact with real people in real life. You want to receive the human emotions of interaction without the effort of actually interacting. It is an empty façade.
Without Facebook, the closest of your friends’ birthdays would be long forgotten. With Facebook, they get a pre-written comment on their wall somewhere in the digital universe. You’d rather share a photo of a moment with your friends on Instagram than actually share that moment with a friend. If there’s not a photo of it on Instagram, did it really happen? This has become your free time, your entertainment, your relationships.
You’ll spend more time tweeting about a sermon than actually listening to it. In older generations, the indicator of an amazing service was how many high heels laid unclaimed and the number of coats and ties left on the pews. Today, the measure of a service is the number of phones left unattended. At General Conference last week, there were $4.3 million pledged to give to a cause of reaching our world.
I stood amazed in the background of the service as I was running donated items to the back room. People donated houses, ties, businesses, college funds, and antique vehicles. I carried back expensive shoes, wedding rings, purses, and rare coins. But out of 6,500 people, there was one thing noticeably absent in the giving. There weren’t any iPads given. No Galaxy Tabs. Not a single cell phone.
Yes, people have to make the choice of their own offering, and it’s obvious that a person giving their house wouldn’t give a phone. But statistically, what are the odds that out of everything given, there wasn’t one device laid upon the altar? There were thousands who truly felt they had nothing to give, and many of those likely posted photos of their meal after service from their iPhone 6+. When did the altar of sacrifice exclude the relationship you have with an electronic device?
Just as the priest and the Levite, you walk past the beaten man in the ditch on your way to church; except you never saw him because you were on your S5 scrolling through a Vine channel that’s clean (for the most part). Your ignorance of those around you is the anesthesia that allows you to tell God that you’re trying your hardest. And your phone has become the needle to distribute the serum.
Why does your phone make an elevator ride less awkward? Because, if but for a brief moment, you can imagine there isn’t another living person standing next to you.
Want an action to take? Delete the social apps from your phone.
I am the husband of an incredible wife and servant of an incredible God. I’m also the founder of @qurate.