There are no new sins, only more diverse and efficient ways of committing them. Before we let the mainstream of 21st-century culture catch us in its current, let’s hit pause for a moment and get our bearings.
Perhaps it’s time to swim against the information flow.
Here are four godly disciplines to pursue in 2014 that have taken on a unique significance in the last five to 10 years.
1. Pluck the I out of your iPhone.
The advent of smart phones has introduced an unprecedented rate of interruption into our social interactions. Phones have made us selfish and inconsiderate in ways that used to be deemed boorish and uncultured.
Formerly, if someone walked up to you and began talking while you were already engaged in another conversation, that person would be considered rude.
But this decade has made us feel rude for not replying instantly to any interruption that hails from our phone.
You know how frustrating it is to be halted mid-sentence by a text chime tone, only to have the person you were talking with treat the “What’s up?” ping as if it were a life-and-death enquiry. I understand if Jack Bauer asked me to hold my thought while he checked the text message from the President. But very few people work for CTU or are on call to intercept a terrorist attack.
Most people answer their phones for one reason only: They heard it “Ping.” How Pavlovian can you get?
Consider just how inconsiderate and demeaning it is to peer intently into a screen, while the person in front of your face is still talking to you.
And even if the message is from an important source for a truly urgent reason, surely we owe it to whomever we are conversing with to let them finish their thought, or otherwise excuse ourselves with an explanation of why this intruder is legitimately more important than they are.
I believe this is becoming an area in which Christians can witness and set an example. Personally, I am going to resolve this new year to not allow my phone to make me behave inconsiderately to those I love.
By the way, I once rejected a phone call during a family dinner. Do you know what happened? Nothing. Go figure. Apparently my availability is not as critical to national security as Jack Bauer’s.
Phil 2:3 … in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
(For the most embarrassing cellphone interruption ever, check out what this orchestra conductor did … )