Disconnecting

child ignored by parentsSome friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin. – Proverbs 18:24

I have a love/hate relationship with my cell phone. On the one hand I love that my phone can help me navigate when I’m lost, answer confounding trivia questions when I’m stumped and tell me if it’s going to rain before I set off on a bike ride. How cool is that?

But I’ve also become increasingly aware of how I allow constant connectivity to disconnect me from what really matters, compulsively answering incoming calls or checking texts and my Facebook feed when I should be giving my attention to the people right in front of me.

I don’t know if “Cell Phone Addiction” is an official diagnosis, but perhaps you recognize the signs in your own life. I know I do.

I don’t know how to fix all that’s broken in our nation and our world right now, but surely more connection would be a step in the right direction. Perhaps we need to disconnect more in order to be more deeply connected to one another.

So, I’m thinking that perhaps I ought to spend more time loving my neighbor and a little less time phoning, texting, tweeting, snapchatting and Facebooking them. Connectivity is no replacement for conversation. And while I’ve seen some pretty epic emojis, nothing can replace the expressiveness of a human face.

Are you with a loved one? Turn your phone off and make eye contact.
Are you in a meeting? Leave your phone in your office and give your teammates your full attention.
Are you driving? Do I even need to say it??

If you want to see what “rock bottom” looks like when it comes to cell phone addiction, watch this…and be prepared to laugh! And then put your cell phone down for a while. A loss of real connectivity is no laughing matter.

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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