as teaching recently on the value of developing traditions of worship in the home, particularly around sitting down and having dinner together. One of our single moms said that she would love to do that, but it would be a fight with her teen daughter just to get her to put down the cell phone and have a face to face conversation.
Our modern technologies are highly effective at distracting us; unfortunately the exploding means of communication are not leading to better and more meaningful relationships. We are experiencing more connection but much less depth of relationship. Amid these rapid changes many of us are longing for some center of stability and peace. On top of that, we live in a culture that glorifies the superficial, leaving us without a deep sense of purpose or value that calls us to sacrifice individual desires for the sake of another.
The technologies are creating a frenzy for the immediate, an overall nervousness that we must check and make sure we are not missing something. This frenzy is causing our culture to increasingly become paralyzed by fear. The catalogue of fears is long including lack of economic and job security, not having a secure retirement, crippling medical costs, adequate health insurance, crime, drugs, and gangs, just to name a few. We fear suffering.
At a personal level, suffering makes us aware of our need for a larger framework of meaning and life purpose becoming a powerful catalyst to move us toward a spiritual perspective. As people of faith, we believe that we are made for relationship with God. Until that relationship is sought and found, there will always be an existential emptiness at the core of our being.
When we talk about drawing closer to God, it is natural to feel certain reservations. Intimacy with the Creator of the universe can be a daunting prospect. “Even while we feel drawn to our living Source through the hunger divinely implanted in our hearts, we also feel repelled at times.” Marjorie Thompson, Soul Feast.
We might feel too insignificant for God to be bothered with us or not feel sure God could love us as we really are. Those feelings will make us hesitate to seek God. We might be afraid of what God might demand of us if we get too close. Maybe we fear He will ask us to give up a relationship or work for the poor.
Reflect on your feelings about coming closer to God. Are you aware of your fears? Try to name them and write them down. Become aware of how dependent you are on the technologies and how they might be pulling you away from deeper relationship with God and others. Take a few minutes to sum up how much of your day is consumed by the technologies. Do you find yourself checking for text messages and Facebook before you open God’s Word?
It is important to notice the effects of technology on our mind, soul, and relationships. The effects are so pervasive and subtle, and we don’t want lose sight of that. Technology is not evil – but how we use it determines whether it is a force for good or ill in our lives. As we develop our spiritual lives we do well to consider cultivating spiritual disciplines that protect our lives and what we value most.