Monday, July 29, 2013

Disconnect to connect: How today's phones make Christ invisible

I don't own a cell phone, so perhaps I have a perspective that others don't. Sitting at lunch with other people, even if we are in the middle of a conversation, if the phone buzzes they stop talking to answer it. If there is even a half-second lull in the conversation, they turn to it. The phones are part of cutlery now. When sitting down, they take out the phone and lay it in place next to their lunch plate, napkin, fork, knife. While talking, their eyes don't meet other peoples' but glance down at the phone every few seconds. The phone distracts even if they are not talking on it that moment. I quit talking at lunch because I know I don't have their attention anyway, and I stopped listening because I know they will stop talking to me even if I do listen to them- to answer the phone. Eventually I stopped socializing at lunch altogether because of the phone issues (among others). In a room with six other people, at one point all five were on the phone. I was completely invisible.

Even talking one-on-one to a person means 50% of the time they will turn away from our conversation to do something on the phone.

"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:24-25)

"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20)

I know phones are important devices these days, especially for parents to keep in touch with kids, especially if there is an emergency. I am no Luddite. I know that sometimes people are waiting for an important doctor return call. Or for a check-in from the teenager. Or for results of a job interview.

But consider, my fellow brethren, the verses above. When we meet with others who are in Christ; at work, at the playground, at church, for a meal ... we are meeting with a purpose. Every time we gather with others it is for a biblical purpose: to build each other up. We have an opportunity to encourage each other. There is nothing more encouraging than to look into someone's eyes as they talk with you and they know that you are devoting your full attention to them, even if it is for one minute, or five minutes or half an hour over a lunch. It's the way we connect through Christ.

So as for the second verse, when we neglect someone, or dismiss them while they are standing right in front of us in favor of chatting or texting on the phone with a "better" person, we are actually neglecting Christ. Please ponder that as you watch this good little video about how we make our loves ones (Christ) invisible.

6 comments:

  1. Very well spoken.

    -carolyn

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  2. While I do agree that we need to unplug, I have to say this: - I have been accused of something similar, but I am usually reading a book or the Bible from my phone. I will always respond to conversation during breaks. These are my only "free" time as I have a small child at home. She & my husband attempt to monopolize my time away from work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kallia,

      Of course! Your mileage varies. I understand how limited your time must be, between work and parenting. I eventually decided just to take my meals at my desk in private, because I use that time also to read the bible and pray.

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  3. Thank you for this. I am one of those people who need the connected one on one, eye to eye time. I feel so disrespected when my friends do this. While it may work for the one doing it, it doesn't work for so many others.

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  4. Elizabeth, thank you for speaking truth on this frustrating subject. Etiquette is by no means what it used to be. If you are a customer bodily present in a retail store, money in hand, ready to spend, isn't it irritating when the sales person stops waiting on you to answer the phone? People have mistaken this busy-ness of always being "in touch" as popularity or something. Society has traded real intimacy for superficiality and quantity for quality in every way. I, too, have given up trying to compete with the ever pre-empting "others" on the phones of friends who have merged with their devices. I never even liked call-waiting.

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  5. Wow brought tears to my eyes. I know how it is being busy with kids, I raised 6 and home taught them as well. My husband has always been in business for himself so I was voted in as his secretary and financial advisor ( paid the bills ) I WAS VERY BUSY. To think I did it without a cell phone. Though I now only teach my youngest two, and only four are at home, all I can say is I am glad I made the choice to not clutter our lives with computers, TV, digital toys and cell phones. Yes we own three but they are off at meals, devotions etc. Seeing how late in the end game we are, I chose to hopefully be caught up while I am interacting with my family verses while I am texting. Great article and video, will share with my family and others. Keep the faith dear sister, thanks for all you do.

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