Connected

This is such a huge topic and there is noway that I’ll be able to express all of my thoughts regarding the topic of “Being Connected” in one blog post.  If I did, it would be an epic blogpost that only my hardcore readers would get to the bottom of, like my mom.
This taken with my iPhone...

I am one of the most guilty when it comes to being overly connected.  So, this post is not me necessarily pointing fingers at the younger, cooler, hipper generation coming through our schools today.  My thoughts apply to me first and foremost.  For goodness sake, the image above was not something I pulled from the Google while I was ‘on the line’, but was my computer, my iPad and the photo was taken with my my iPhone.  I’m pretty much a walking endorsement for Apple.  Any rich supporters out there want to send me an iWatch? (Just kidding, I really do not want or need that in my life…)  

I have been known to ‘multitask’ on my technology devices.  It is common for me to be working on the computer or looking up scores or reading stimulating Huffington Post articles that friends post on Facebook while playing a game of Sudoku on my iPad, while texting someone on my phone, while having an episode of the Office on Netflix in the background on the TV.  Wow, can anyone say overstimulation.

We are an over-connected society.  Technology keeps developing and we keep getting more connected and more connected, faster and faster.  Remember when McDonald’s boasted they had free WiFi a few years back?  That was so revolutionary.  Nowadays, no one needs to advertise that because it is a given.

I remember getting my first cell phone in college.  It was a flip phone (remember those?) and I felt I was so cool.  Nevermind that I was a few years late to the party on those, but oh well.  Only a decade later everyone has phones as young as junior high and in most cases even younger.

Kids these days are growing up in classes where, in many cases, textbooks are becoming obsolete, nobody knows what an encyclopedia looks like in the book fashion.  Speaking of, do you remember books? They were pretty neat.  I bet Gutenberg is rolling over in his grave right now.  Pretty soon there will not be a need for the printing press.  Do you guys remember paper even?  I have a flight later today and my boarding passes are on my phone.  Students all have computers and write their papers and submit them online and it is all stored on some server up in northern Scandinavia!  As an educator, thankfully, I do not have to deal with the bogus excuse of the ‘Printer not working’ anymore!  Sadly it has morphed to the ‘Internet not working’, which is equally as bogus, but oh well.

Now, I’m not saying all of this is bad or that being connected is bad.  Not at all.  I’m quite fond of going paperless as a teacher.  It helps me stay organized, plus I feel as though I am doing my part in ‘going green’.

I am finishing up a short trip to Texas to visit some friends.  I had a wonderful time.  One of things we did was go to the Heart of Texas County Fair.  It was your typical fair with rides that make you want to vomit and fried food that helps in that department.  Petting barn, concerts and rodeos!  My friend Phil pointed out something that made me laugh though.  There was a courtesy charging station tent for all your charging needs.  I could not contain my laugh as I said a little prayer for mankind.  I understand the use for that if you are using your phone as your camera (remember stand alone cameras?) but this tent was PACKED with people just standing there, charging, and staring into the void of their phone screen.  I started to observe people at the fair then and people were hardly ‘present’ at the fair.  Everyone was walking around looking at their phones.  I guess I realized that we do that now.  We do not go to concerts, out to dinner, to the park to enjoy them for what they are and enjoy the people we are with.  We almost go to these places as venues and different sceneries in which to stare at our phones at.  “Where would I like to check Twitter today? I’ll do that at the park”.  We are texting others or live tweeting and not enjoying the people we are with.  In a few years nobody will know how to talk to each other and have normal conversations where we look each other in the eye.  That would be way too scary.

It is no surprise that the Selfie Generation is so popular.  Gone are the days of taking photos for appreciating a place for what it is.  Now we need to Selfie ourselves somewhere.  The background changes with each Selfie but, don’t worry, the most important subject is always present, me.  Our culture has never been more self-centered and the Selfie is a fantastic tangible way of seeing this.  “Look at me, I’m at Starbucks!” “Look, now I’m at a baseball game!” “Look, now I’m crossing the street!” Aren’t I awesome?!

So, what’s my point.  I have just shared a bunch of thoughts rolling through my head and I guess here is the thought.  As I become more and more connected, I feel like in my life and in the life of many Christians, we become less and less connected with Christ.  We do not rely on Him for much of anything these days.  As I’m consumed in my self-centered, connected, selfie world I keep pushing Christ out, because even though this connectedness is supposed to free up time in my life, it actually consumes my life and there is less and less time for Christ.  I have lost my ‘need’ for him.  I view him as a convenience to cry out to when my life gets ‘tough’.

I’m sure you heard the story about the traveller who wanted to know God, so he went to visit the monk who everyone in the village said knew God.  The traveller found the monk and asked if the monk would let him become his student because he wanted to know God.  The monk led the traveller by the stream and without a warning the monk seized the traveller with a supernatural strength for an older fellow shoved the traveller’s head, face-first, into the stream and held him there.  After 30 seconds the traveller started to flail his arms and legs violently as he needed air.  Just as he started to lose consciousness the monk pulled him out of the water.  The traveller gasped loudly that breath of precious air and after he calmed down asked the monk what was that for? The monk replied, “When you want God as much as you wanted that breath of air, then you will know what it means to know the need of Christ.”

I probably butchered the telling of that story, but how many of us can honestly claim that we live a life where we acknowledge and live life in that sort of way, where Christ is the the sole-center breath-giving part to our life.  I know I do not live that way and this is my fear with this upcoming generation of ‘Connected” people that we have severed, or at the very least, strained our most important Connection to our Father in Heaven.

Here is my challenge:
Go somewhere, anywhere, without your phone.  I realize this is probably breaking the 12th commandment, (since we all know the 11th commandment is ‘Thou Shall Eat Pizza’).  But go to the store, go to the park, go to the mall without your phone.  Then let me know how that felt.  Instead of looking at your fantasy football team, checking Facebook or Instagram use that time to pray.  Thank God for the blessings in your life, ask God to bring someone into your life you can minister to, pray for whatever requests you may have.  Talk to whoever you are with, talk to a stranger (that’s weird, I know).  I know the argument that you need your phone incase someone needs to get ahold of you immediately.  And to that I don’t have a good answer other than to ask that you think through your last week and count how many urgent phone calls or texts you received that needed your immediate attention that could not have waited an hour or so?  I’m going to guess (and this is bold of me) that the answer is between zero and two calls or texts.  Let’s have a little faith that the whole world will not come crashing down in the span of two hours of disconnectedness.

Please comment and share your ‘Connectedness’ thoughts!

Support Update:

I figured I’d give an update on how I am coming along with my support.  I have raised 6/14th’s of my $700/mo that I am needing to return to Africa in late December.  Would YOU please prayerfully consider supporting me in my journey back to Kenya?  To get signed up all you need to do is click on the ‘Giving’ tab at the top and get started or just click here!  Thank you for praying about this with me!

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One response to “Connected”

  1. Kaari N. says :

    They had charging tents at the MN State Fair this year too. Also made me simultaneously smirk and then weep for humanity.

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