Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Goodbye Facebook news feed!
I distinctly remember the day I saw technology in a new light. I was walking down the hallway at college about 10 years ago and I saw 3 people walking side by side. I could hear the echos of their conversations as each one of them was talking on their cell phone. So close to each other and at the same time so incredibly far. It shocked me, just like the first time someone texted on their phone while I was having a conversation with her. And I knew that this thing that was designed to bring connection would soon be forcing us apart. It is easier then ever to be connected with the world, to find those that we resonate with, to look up a long lost friend, to check a status, to read a text, and to fill our minds with countless hours of drivel. I am just as guilty. The personality tests that all tell me the same thing, the cute animal videos, the blogs that just happen to align perfectly with my world view........ If I don't like what I am reading I can close the window, unfriend another human being, and continue to block out all that would disagree with me. No tough conversations face to face, only trolling and ignoring. So completely connected outside of our immediate community, and so distant from our neighbor. Even now as I am writing this I find myself hopping between this page and another as the ping sounds letting me know that I have a message asking me when I will post the Christmas Party photos. I am the trained rat, jumping at the bell, pushing the button for a reward, and this lets me know that something must be done. I can no longer let myself binge and purge on the emptiness of social media, feeling as if I have experienced an emotional roller coaster each time I hop on my news feed, flooded with images trying to sell me a new me. Nothing good enough, always wanting more, nothing that lasts. In the last few months we have had the privilege to commune with some Amish and Anabaptist friends. While the Amish are a horse and buggy community, the Anabaptist have not completely sworn off technology (they use it as a tool) but do not use it for personal recreation. These worlds views that they hold to are challenging to think of, but I respect them greatly. The main reason being the quality of time that we have spent with these brothers and sisters. Since they are not shackled to cell phones and computers they are free to dive in to conversation. Our time with them was highlighted with deep theological talk of non violence, seeing them dig into the scripture at the breakfast table, playing games late into the night, and whole heatedly flipping pancakes as Bliss and I organized breakfast. There was a spark of the divine in them that I can not ignore. They are people fully present in the moment, not distracted by the noise of the world because they trained their ears to hear the voice of God. They have turned their eyes upwards to glimpse what God may have to say about all these things going on in the world, and while I may not desire to be so inwardly focused all the time, I cannot deny the wisdom in limiting my exposure to the noise of the marketplace. How am I to hear the voice of God, when I spend all my time listening to the world. The time has come to choose where my heart lies. Is it tying connections to people that I have never met? Or is it investing in my family, church and community. Digging into the issues that affect the people who walk down our sidewalks every day. Seeing a spark of the divine in each as they pass. They are his children too. Or have we so quickly forgotten the maddening simplicity of Gods love, mercy and forgiveness for ALL. The time have come to stop the constant feed of spiritual junk food on my life and dig into the bread of life. How will this look? More writing, more reading of the word, much less time on the computer, and giving up my Facebook news feed. I will still use technology as a tool to stay connected, but the black hole of my time has to end. My hope is to still share little family moments with you (photos and updates), to be able to send you messages, and to share my heart on this space. But the endless hours of mindless scrolling must come to and end. My hope is that as a result people will see in me that same spark of the divine that I saw in our dear friends. Peace be with you.