Tech Shaped Spirituality: Phones
About 10 days ago, as I was unlocking the door, my LG-G2 slipped out of my hand, falling mercilessly to the concrete. I used to have a cover/drop-protector thing on it, but when I was in Myanmar I left it with a phone I was giving them. So my coverless phone fell mercilessly to the concrete. It completely shattered.
If you have been trying to get ahold of me, I haven’t been ignoring you anymore than I usually do. My phone is at rest. Bit the big one. For 10 days, my left hand has been unusually empty.
I know some of you are shaking your head in wonder, as you cradle your phone in your hand. You feel bad for me. You are ready to scrounge in your sock drawer for an unused iphone 3. Please don’t. I’ve decided to go phoneless for the next few months. I am not one of those anti-tech guys. I love almost all (non-apple) tech. My LG-G2 was a sweet ride.
But here’s the thing, once upon a time, long car rides (alone) were some of my best times with God. Singing loud, praying outloud, talking to Jesus like he was sitting next to me, pondering stuff, dreaming Kingdom dreams, listening to sermons or even a digital Bible. But lately I’ve realized my long rides have become a distracted battle with my phone. No I don’t txt and drive, but I have been known to check and drive. And even when I’m not, I’m still distracted waiting for the next time I’ll stop so I can check and respond.
And when I’m not in the car, it’s even worse. I know I’m not the only one because I’ve seen you at the restaurant sitting with you friends, looking at your phone. I’ve walked down the street and noticed that 90% of the people I pass have one attached to their hands. I’ve almost run into you as you were walking and texting.
So here is my question, how is tech shaping our spirituality?
I’m not sure that I can develop a vibrant relationship with God if I am consistently distracted by my phone. In Jesus’ sermon on the mount, (Matthew 5-7) he said that if our hands offend us we should cut them off. So I’m going to amputate my phone…at least for awhile. I need some undistracted time with God. I know. You don’t need to smash your phone to have undistracted time with God. Maybe I’m the only one. Maybe not.
I Appreciate you having this new ‘3rd chapter’ emphasis at Calvary on faith. Here are some thots I have on stirring up faith in your congregation. You mentioned in the blog that Jesus taught, “if your hand offends you, cut it off”. Also He told the rich young ruler to give his money away to be saved. and He said if your eye offends, well, you get it, right?
Of course we’re not literally supposed to gouge out our eyes and amputate, so why did He say that? Besides the obvious reasons, He kept running into people who thought they were doing pretty well at keeping the law, right? were they really? scripture is clear, humans don’t keep God’s law flawlessly. Ever. And Deut.28 makes it abundantly clear that under that old economy, flawless perfection was required to get blessed, and without it, very bad curses would come your way. Lots of them. Also, some of the people Jesus addressed in His ‘mount’ teachings lacked either the honesty or or the revelation to recognize that in Gods economy, they were bankrupt. That’s where you will accurately see yourself if you want to approach God as a law keeper like the rich guy. (“All these things I’ve done all my life”,) ? really? Jesus put the law on steroids for them to get it. and the ‘it’ they didn’t get was, YOU FAIL! The Bible makes clear that Gods law stirs up rebellion in fallen humans and sin increases under it.(Rom.7:5) And thats no failure of the law, it’s flesh’s failure. So why could Paul say that with his mind he agreed w/ Gods law, but in his body – sin. He claimed he was the worst of the worst and also said, “I no longer live, but Christ in me does”. (Gal 2:20),and, “you were also put to death in relation to the law through the death of Jesus…in order to bear fruit of the Spirit”.
Here is the meaty stuff. What looks like contradiction to us (with eyes of flesh) is not untrue. As we look to do this life according to outer requirements, (WWJD – law based thinking), we get a FAIL. But as we live by Him in us, we DO impart Life. His Life. Does that mean sinless perfection? No! but the point is to, BY FAITH, see HIM in and through us. That takes spiritual eyes which believe Gods word over my assessment of how I’m doing (fleshly), Fleshly eyes behold failure and sins, or, (in denial or pride) see successes we don’t really have.