Some of today’s most important vocabulary words have their root in the word “connect.” Whether by cell phone, computer or other electronic device, it seems we are always looking for “connectivity.” When successful, the computer tells us that the “connection” has been made, but when we experience “disconnection,” we become highly frustrated. It is as if our world stops. We become isolated, severed and incapable of communication when we cannot “connect.”
Unfortunately, our constant state of “connectivity” often “disconnects” us from the most important relationships. Keeping our ears, eyes and fingers in constant motion prevents us from listening, seeing and touching the most important people in our lives. (I speak about this from personal experience.) Having a cell phone with text messaging, e-mail, Web browser, full contact list, call waiting and voice mail, being connected with something or someone becomes addictive. (It is easy to confess because there are so many like me.)
I would propose that, for all of us, electronic “disconnection” is perhaps more important than our ability to “connect.” I would suggest that use of the “off” button on our phones and computers would provide hours of quiet and the ability to connect with those who matter most.
Connecting with God simply does not happen when we are connected to everyone and everything else. I do a lot of windshield time, and time and again, I have been driving down the road, praying, only to be interrupted by the phone. After answering those calls, I am overwhelmed by a sense of anguish. I think to myself, “I just disrupted my time with the Almighty God of the universe to take a phone call.” Our minds are programmed to connect with these electronic devices. Answering is an automatic reaction.
In the old days, men were chided for bringing home briefcases full of work from the office. Now we don’t bring home just a briefcase-we bring our cell phones and computers. We no longer take our work home-we take it to the ballgame, mall, campout, hike, concert and church! Concentration on anything is always one button away from fragmentation.
The problem is not the device, but the owner. Perhaps the word that should be most prominent for us postmoderns is “disconnect.” Disconnect from all the stuff so you can reconnect with the people you love and with your God.
Turn it off and have a quiet time of Bible reading, reflection and prayer.
Turn it off and have conversation with your family.
Turn it off and serve someone uninterrupted.
Turn it off and listen to the sounds of the world around you.
Go ahead. Punch the button. Just do it!
Now comes the real challenge for me-practicing what I preach. Excuse me, I need to stop now. My cell phone is ringing. Just kidding!