The Lure of a Glowing Screen

When is the last time you went somewhere without your technology? It happened to me on Sunday – sort of.
I sat down in church and realized I had left my phone in my vehicle. Sheer terror washed over me. Did I have time to run get it before the first song? Was it possible to survive for 90 minutes without it? Would someone break in and steal it in the parking lot?
No, yes, no … I didn’t have time, I would not die, and I needed to give churchgoers the benefit of the doubt.
My wife is reading a book titled Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Warren. In the book Warren admits to readers she had fallen into a morning routine with similar technology issues to mine. She writes … “Shortly after waking, I’d grab my smartphone. Like digital caffeine it would prod my foggy brain into coherence and activity. Before getting out of bed, I’d check my email, scroll through the news, glance at Facebook or Twitter.”
Warren likens her technology addiction to a baby mountain lion in the wild being found by a human and imprinting to the human rather than it’s mother. Years ago, I used to teach Biology to high schoolers (who knew? — believe me, I’m as shocked as you are!). I do remember imprinting. It is the bonding that takes place at birth upon first contact. In the case of Warren’s example of the mountain lion being found by a human, the animal would falsely begin to believe that security and protection comes from humans. The mountain lion cub would cease to be itself and could not survive the wild.
Warren goes on to confess, “My morning smartphone ritual was brief — no more than five or ten minutes. But I was imprinted. My day was imprinted by technology. And like a mountain lion cub attached to a human, I’d look for all good things to come from glowing screens.”
So how about you? Do you have your technology under control or is it controlling you? Is your day imprinted by technology? I read last week that the average person checks their email or social media 45 times per day. We see such statistics and think it must be referring to someone else. Hello!!!
I’m convinced we cripple our leadership if we are too dependent on technology. Why not make a decision to go dark the first hour of the day? I have been working on such a practice and it is a challenge. However, I’ve been making progress and I feel like I’m a better leader when I pray, think, and plan before I ever look at a screen.
If you are looking for a place to start, I suggest you go to church and leave your phone in the car. I’m guessing it will still be there when you get back. If not, you should visit my church.
[Tweet “”It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” #Technology”]
[Tweet “”The great myth of our times is that technology is communication.” #Communication”]

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Jason A. Ponzio

4 years ago

For Aaron’s birthday we went camping before Christmas. Once we parked the car I turned my phone off and said I am unplugging while we are camping. While being mildly addicted to technology, not just phones, I thought it would be rough. I found it rather a bit of a relief not to have my phone around. It was safely tucked away in the car just in case… It is great to have tools available we just cannot allow ourselves to be completely reliant on them, or addicted to them… I confess I am, OK beyond, slightly addicted…
Here is to unplugging more often…


4 years ago

Thanks for the comment, Jason!

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