Distracted Discipleship: Put Your Phone Down

Where the ultimate goal of technology is to serve as “a mere extension of self,” the goal of the disciple is to make disciples in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

Topics: Technology

The world we live in is incredible. The same computer I’m using to write this blog can fetch video from any era, play music from any artist and put me in contact with almost anyone, anywhere in the world.

The phone in my pocket contains more technology than the Saturn V rocket that sent the Apollo astronauts to the moon. Think about that. We, literally, have more power in the palm of our hands than the men who accomplished the greatest technological feat in history.

We even take pride in our technology, specifically in our ability to multitask. It’s as if we’re in an ever-present contest to see who can get more done in a quicker amount of time. We’re more connected than mankind has ever been, yet our intimacy with each other is waning.

It’s understandable. Who has time for deep, personal relationships when we’re managing 300 virtual friends? Why have conversations over lunch when we can check Twitter, Facebook and email over and over and over again? Why honor the person across from us with our time and attention when we can honor ourselves with what we want right now?

A New York Times article recently commented on our insatiable appetite for all things tech:

To speak more generally, the ultimate goal of technology, the telos of techne, is to replace a natural world that’s indifferent to our wishes – a world of hurricanes and hardships and breakable hearts, a world of resistance – with a world so responsive to our wishes as to be, effectively, a mere extension of the self.

The iPhone isn’t evil – nor is Blackberry, Microsoft, Twitter or Instagram – but it can’t save you. Technology is morally neutral, but when we place our identity in the quick-and-now, we lose the eternal perspective of the kingdom of God. We stunt our growth in Christ because we pursue what’s fleeting.

Jesus Christ is who He says He is: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). The Son of God who created the world reconciled us to God. In Him we are deemed righteous because He became our sin. He is our identity. And this reconciliation doesn’t stop with us – we are called “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor. 5:20) with the mission to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:1-20).

Where the ultimate goal of technology is to serve as “a mere extension of self,” the goal of the disciple is to make disciples in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are to be upwardly focused on the kingdom of God as we prayerfully pursue a life of obedience. It’s hard to walk in obedience when we’re so distracted that we can’t finish coffee with a friend without checking to see how important we – think we – are. But we’re called to more than that.

To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, let us stop playing in the mud when we’ve been invited to vacation on the beach. Let us not depend on technology for joy but leverage it for the advancement of the kingdom of God.