Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Photo That Changed My Life

It was an innocent enough picture, but it really shook me up.

There I was, iPad in hand, next to my then three year old son who was focused on playing with an iPod. Both of us with heads down; disengaged from each other and everyone else.

As I saw that photo I was crushed. “Dear God, no,” I prayed. I refuse to be a disengaged husband, father, friend, and disciple.

Once I saw that photo I vowed to change. No more will I be with people and have my nose in an electronic device—unless it’s for the sake of conversation or the meeting itself.

I fail at this at times. And sometimes it hits me how stupid it is that I’m playing some silly game, reading some pointless article, checking some insignificant news, or wasting away while I have life all around me.

This isn’t life no matter what Apple tries to tell you. This is not it, this is not what matters:

I believe that iPad’s and iPod’s can be helpful tools. They can help us actually serve people better. But if, as you see in this video, it directs our attention away from one another, they are deadly.

I often wonder if an iPad would be used by Caravaggio if he painted a modern day Narcissus. There we would be looking into a glass, seeing ourselves and everything that interests us, customized to our own liking.

I don’t want to be Narcissus. I want to look up and engage with people. Problem is, more often than not their heads are buried as well. I pray that we grow tired of looking at ourselves and keeping tabs on our own little worlds. And we actually start to look up again.

Maybe you are reading this right now on an electronic device. I want to encourage you to put down the iPad and vow not to spend your life staring into an electronic looking glass.

Look up.


I’d also encourage you to read this article by Justin Taylor (and the one he links to in that article).

1 comment:

  1. I certainly sympathize with the relationship with your son. I make every effort to interact with my family. They have to interact with me. I'm Dad and there is a certain strength they seem to take from the way I share life and faith with them.

    It kind of ends there, though. Outside of my family I don't have much of a social life. My coworkers go fishing together and text each other when they are away from work. I'm not included in those things. My church family works kind of the same way. In a couple of hours I will get the bulk of my extra-familial social face-time at church. My church family seems to often see each other away from church. I have a group of guys I pray with once a week and a choir I see a couple of times a month. Otherwise, my social life is all online. When I look up, if I see anyone at all they will not really want to have much to do with me.

    In a culture steeped in postmodernism, where people like to define their own realities and seek their own ends, handheld computers used as communication devices allow us to more widely seek the relationships we want rather than investing in the relationships we have been given. I was reminded recently that no satisfaction can be found in relationship or significance, but only in Christ. I'll show up for church anyway but only hope in Christ. In my lonely boredom I'll study online and reach out to strangers for some kind of interaction in comment sections or long lost associates in social networks. Pixelated people and digital dialogs are often real enough to while away the time alone.



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