“We are forever elsewhere.”
In her book, Reclaiming Conversation, Sherry Turkle discusses conversation in our digital age. She believes we have lost, not only the ability, but the desire, for face to face conversations.
We eat at home, or out, with a phone in our hands or near us. We may be in a room full of people, and yet texting friends who are miles away. As she says, “We haven’t stopped talking, but we opt out, often unconsciously, of the kind of conversation that requires full attention.” We talk at each other, and listen less. She says, “technology makes emotions easy.” We hope to avoid face to face conflict of any kind, so technology becomes our mask.
The problem we must face within the church is that we are not immune to this. We must have reminders to silence our devices, or turn our phones off during the service. Our focus can be pulled away when a notification pops up onscreen, and suddenly we miss the word preached.
Emotions are not “easy” all the time. If we are to learn and mature we must understand all emotions, and how to deal with them, in ourselves, and others. In the christian life focus is mandatory.Keeping our eyes focused on Christ is a requirement. If you walk on a sidewalk with your head down, only seeing the path at your feet, you walk in a crooked manner. But if your eyes our focused on the sidewalk in front of you, you see much more clearly.
It is technology in this modern era that has caused our culture to be “forever elsewhere”. But in our walk with Christ, it is our unfocused hearts that are the problem. A true follower of Jesus seeks face to face conversation with Him, and with those around them.
When our mind in not focused on the Sunday message, when our hearts are not “in worship”, when we tell a friend we just don’t have time to talk, when we are too busy for prayer and bible study, we suffer. And we suffer, because we are forever elsewhere.