Browsing Tag

technology

Christian Life, Relationships, young adults

Security Devices

September 27, 2016

 

 

 

Have you noticed how we use our phones as escape routes from uncomfortable situations? In a conversation with someone new there’s an awkward pause, so you whip out your phone to check time/weather/facebook/texts. You’re walking down the hallway and have to pass someone you don’t really feel like talking with, so you pull out your phone and keep your head down, safe knowing that you have an excuse for not interacting. You’re at a party and not sure who to talk to, so you find a quiet corner, pull out your phone, and start scrolling through some social media feed, immediately feeling safely insulated from loneliness.

When our phones become security devices and means of escaping the uncomfortable, they’re taking on a role that Jesus is meant to play in our lives. To the extent that we do that, we’re making our phones into little electronic gods, worshipping them for the way they protect us by devoting our attention to them. Let’s not do that. I’ve written before about the danger of finding security in anything other than Jesus, so I won’t re-hash that point here.

But that’s not the only problem with going to our phones as a means of escape. On top of subtly allowing our phones to become gods, using an electronic device as a means of escape from human connection is making a huge statement about what is valuable to us. When we choose a comfortable, digitally-mediated world of social media over the opportunity for direct human connection we’re declaring that we don’t value the person in front of us. We’re declaring that our comfort is more valuable than another person’s God-imaged humanity. That we will gain more from our phone than we would from them.

Let’s not be people who turn to our security devices at the least sign of awkwardness or discomfort. Instead let’s press into conversations, honoring one another by giving each other our full focus. If you’re in a large group gathering and left standing by yourself, rather than turning to your phone look for someone else who’s by themselves and go connect with them. If you’re in a conversation and there’s an awkward silence don’t check the time – instead smile, remind yourself that quiet is ok, and compliment the other person about something small.

In all of this let’s turn first to Jesus, the only one who truly gives security and peace and power to connect with one another. Don’t replace him with a 4-inch LCD screen.

 

 

 

Culture

Electric Idols

November 30, 2010

More often than not the most common things in our lives become our easiest idols. Take, for instance, the technology which we so greatly depend on. From computers to cell phones to Ipods to television, all of it has a terribly tendency to creep its way onto the throne of our lives, convincing us that we are dependent upon it for our lives. It commends itself to us as necessary for existence, and we fall for the ploy. The apostle Paul writes in Romans 6 saying, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey”?

Oh how different Paul’s perspective is than ours! Our view of slavery is one of being forced into unwilling captivity and beaten into doing that which the master demands, but this is far from the imagery Romans 6 lays out. In the apostle’s mind there is an inherent willingness (though perhaps not happiness) in the phrase at the time it was written. A bondservant, the literal meaning of the word here translated as slave, was a vastly different thing in Paul’s time than our modern conception of slavery. Bondservants were the attendants of their master, promised payment or given food and a place to live for their services.

Paul’s logic is not, “I’m a slave to this master, therefore I obey him,” it is, “I obey this master, therefore I am his slave.”We need to hammer this into our head so that we can honestly evaluate what we are enslaved to. Idols offer us a payment in return for our service to them, never delivering what they promise and dragging us more and more into bondage.  Do you have something that you simply have to obey? An item you need in order to function? A piece of technology that you wouldn’t be able to go more than a few hours without?

For many, cell phones and Ipods fall under that category. If what Romans 6 says is true, then until about a year ago I was certainly enslaved that small music device that I carried with me day and in and day out that had me convinced that an hour long car ride without music was a thing utterly unbearable. It was an idol that assured me that if I did as it demanded it would provide me with satisfaction. Oh how far that was from the truth! God (as he often does) knocked that idol from its impostor’s throne by having my new 80gb Ipod stolen from me just four days after I had purchased it. But, slow to learn as I was, I purchased a new one a few months later and spent the next year or so obeying a slave master other than Christ.

It is a terrible thing to be bound to any other than God alone. To have a master other than Christ is to walk in sin. There is no middle ground left for us, for we are, “slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness”. (Romans 6:16) We must choose between Christ or sin. Not Christ and technology, not Christ and romance, not Christ and money. There is no Christ and. We can only have one god in our lives.

Examine yourselves, especially you young men and women who have become inoculated enough to technology to see it as a normal part of life. Test yourself and see if you are truly free from bondage by giving up the cell phone, the Ipod, the computer, the Xbox, or the television for a few days. If you are able to toss it aside and let it lie with no trouble, rejoice for the freedom you have. If, as is more likely the case, you feel that object tugging at your heart and reminding you just how hard life is without it, you have found in yourself an Idol that will be a cruel master to you if it is not dethroned. Jesus himself said that we would be unable to love both God and money. How much more will we be unable to serve God if technology holds us captive?

Fight the good fight, and come to the cross where none but Christ is left standing.

– Benjamin Pontius