Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Man fixated on his cell phone doesn't realize a whale is beneath him


Man too busy texting to notice rare whale surface RIGHT NEXT TO HIM

For those attuned to certain values, it's an image that defies belief and defines how far modern culture has sunk. There is a man on the deck of a sailboat. Just feet below is a humpback whale. Perhaps the whale is saying hello. Perhaps the whale can smell some nice fish the man has grilling. It's less likely that the whale wants to phone home. The glory of the story, you see, is that the man can't see the whale, because he's too busy texting on his phone. The image was taken by photographer Eric Smith and posted to his Instagram feed...

It is a shame when we are too distracted to experience the important things happening around us. I am reminded of the incident with Martha from Luke 10:38-42

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
She was then cumbered about much serving when she should have been with her sister, sitting at Christ’s feet to hear his word. Note, Worldly business is then a snare to us when it hinders us from serving God and getting good to our souls.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1859). Peabody: Hendrickson.

Technological Distraction and Christian values, by Ken Funk, Oregon State University
But the individual can really only engage in one activity requiring conscious, effortful thought at a time. This is especially true of activities directed toward the highest good. To seek God’s kingdom and to know Him requires substantial time for reflection and sustained attention. So, like time, attention is a scarce resource that should be allocated wisely.
But modern technology complicates that attention allocation process in several ways. ... The problem, though, is that technology creates the opportunities for far more good activities than we can ever hope to accomplish. As our lives become increasingly busy with activities directed toward the good, we can lose sight of the highest good. Overwhelmed and overloaded by demands for our time and attention, we can be diverted from our search for the kingdom of God. ... Many of us have become so fascinated by technology that we dedicate substantial amounts of time and energy to acquiring more and more technological objects. Not all of this can be explained by their instrumental value: for many of us, technology has taken on intrinsic value. (Source)

What he is saying here is that it used to be that technology could enable us to use it as a tool to seek the highest good for God's kingdom, but now it has become the good in and of itself. It is now a tool that is using us to seek the bad, or at least, distract us from seeking the highest good. Think Martha.

The typical individual is thus confronted with an overwhelming multitude of technology-induced activities. I refer to this as technological busyness. One effect of technological busyness is mental distress. ... But by far the most serious negative consequence of technological busyness is technological distraction: by drawing our attention mostly to activities related to the lower good, technology distracts us from our efforts to realize the highest good and therefore may cause us to fail to fulfill the very purpose for our existence.
What is the purpose for our existence? Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
Photographer Eric Smith "told CBS News that a whale and her calf were "flapping, breaching, jumping, mouths eating fish," but the man never budged. He said he has five photos of the man busy with his phone as the whales surface around the boat. “We’re all guilty being buried in our phones, even me,” Smith was quoted as saying. “You think life is better on your phone, but we’re missing what’s happening around us."

Can you make the declaration that is in the verse below? That you are not enslaved by anything? Not your cell phone...not your debt because you bought the latest technology, not to your child's demands for an X-box upgrade?

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Our attention should always be fixed on Jesus. Don't let anything distract. Stay focused on the one thing.

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

As for the man and what he was really doing while the whale played next to him, we will never know. We do know the following:

Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great. There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it. (Psalm 104:25-26)







3 comments :

  1. "The problem, though, is that technology creates the opportunities for far more good activities than we can ever hope to accomplish"

    The takeaway quote I took out of the article.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that Adam. The article was a scholarly article out of Oregon State, written in 1999. He spent a good deal more time on the technological good and the value we as Christians can place on it, as long as we are not distracted or let it enslave us. It's a good article, I encourage you to check it out. :)

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    2. It's definitely worth thinking about, especially for someone whose best hope to influence others is through virtual media (blogging). Because I perceive myself to lack influence both in human capital (large social circles) or financial capital (money to donate to ministries or spend on community evangelism/giving), there's certainly a temptation to be content with putting in more effort into the virtual aspect--blogging, commenting on discussion forums, etc. But of course I don't want to miss doing good in some way, at the cost of another medium, so if I get the time, I'll definitely take the time to seek whatever edification and wisdom I can gain from that article.

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