This article was originally published on November 3, 2011. Click here for the original post.
My friends at Tyndale published their most recent magazine that featured a survey on Church & Technology. The following are some of my observations of technology and its role in our work, life, and ministry. I absolutely love techie toys, but I’ve learned that if not put in its place, technology can easily distract us from the important things in life. Here’s how:
After I got my BlackBerry, there was no way I would ever go back to a “dumb phone.” Weeks later, I began to realize how disruptive the “CrackBerry” had become. There was something clearly wrong, when after church my friends and I would go out for lunch and we’d all sit around the table: texting, checking Facebook, or playing games, instead of actually holding a face-to-face conversation. It came to a point where we agreed that we’d turn them off and one person became responsible for keeping all phones in their purse or bag.
Something is wrong when:
My point is, no amount of Skyping or FaceTime can replace real human contact. It doesn’t really matter how many people “like”, “follow”, or “add” us online. Being able to put down technology to have a coffee, share a meal, or walk with a friend, is a real discipline that takes practice and work. It takes extra effort to make a date at a local Tim Hortons/Starbucks and just spend time to catch up, however this effort is rewarded by a much more meaningful interaction than one that is merely digital.
Last summer I took a class called, “Leadership Lessons in the Wilderness” that included a six-day canoe trip in which we brought only the clothes on our backs, plus whatever personal belongings we could stuff into a small waterproof bag. We had no running water, toilets, or showers. We had no cell phone connection, T.V., Internet or computer, instead, we spent most of the day canoeing to our next campsite, setting up camp, and sharing stories at our daily lectures/devotions. The simplicity of not having to deal with e-mails, voicemails, and text messages was a true blessing. The trip allowed for us to get to know each other better, and when we got home it was clear that life doesn’t have to be as complicated as our western culture makes it out to be.
This weekend, I encourage you to try and unplug by spending some quality face-to-face time with a family member or friend.
How else do you think technology affects our relationships?
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Click the link below for Part 2: