Archive for tech

.::What is Technology Doing to Our Souls?: No Cell Zone

Posted in adolescence, church, disciplines, Life, rant, spiritual disciplines, Tech, Technology, Theology, What is Technology Doing to Our Souls?, what matters, youth ministry with tags , , , , , , on November 11, 2011 by Walter

Several years back I had a really interesting conversation with a mom in my youth group.  She came up to me and said, “I am so tired of my daughter getting woken up in the middle of the night with her friend’s texting her.”

I replied, “Why don’t you have her charge her phone downstairs in the kitchen?”

“But it’s her alarm clock.” She said.

I thought, “If only there was some magical device you could purchase that would make a noise at a predetermined time of day . . . ”

What does it do to the soul to have ourselves connected to our phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, year after year?

According to Time Magazine Online,  “35% of Android and iPhone owners in the U.S. fire up mobile apps before getting out of bed, according to a survey by Ericsson ConsumerLab.”  Maybe this points to the fact that we are overconnected?  Do you feel like you and your students are TOO connected?  Is there a time when you or your teens is not able to be reached by the outside world?  Didn’t Jesus have to get away from everyone just so he could listen to his Father?

We haven’t set up barriers that tell technology to keep out.  This is “Me” Time or “We” Time.  I remember only having a landline in our home and having dinner together as a family, whenever the phone rang during dinner, mom would proclaim, “Let it ring! This is family time.”  Which begs the question:  Do we even still have a time like this when we just let it ring?  Do we have family time?

What if your family had a no cell phone zone?  For your fmaily it might be the dinner table, or the living room when you are all watching TV together.  For some of you it might be the bedroom.  Have the entire family charge their phones far away from their bedrooms so they can sleep without being interrupted.  Might this become a solitary place like Jesus often needed in order to refocus.

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

Luke 5:16

Over and over we see time when Jesus gets away from the frenetic pace of life so He can just LISTEN.  Is it possible that our cell phones actually keep us from LISTENING?  Might the Verizon mantra, “Can you hear me now?” have been a prophetic voice warning us that these shiny little devices would actually KEEP us from listening to God’s voice?

What other places might be Cell Free Zones for you?  Church? Restaurants? Movie Theaters? Friends homes?

What I mean is that you might still have your phone on you at these places, but you might actually turn them OFF so that you aren’t unnecessarily interrupted when you are at these places.  Simply power it back up when you are leaving and resume your connection to the rest of the world.

So I challenge you to find ONE PLACE that will be a Cell Free Zone in your world this week.  


.::What is Technology Doing to Our Souls?: Tech Sabbath

Posted in adolescence, disciplines, Life, Tech, Technology, Theology, What is Technology Doing to Our Souls? with tags , , , , , on November 8, 2011 by Walter

I have been fortunate to present a body of work I have called, “What is Technology Doing to Our Souls?” to all sorts of parents around the nation this past year and a half.  It has been a rich and rewarding experience to partner with parents and help them navigate through this vast sea of choices, boundaries, and wisdom that is required to know what is the best course for my son or daughter?  Over the next few posts, I want to share a few of those nuggets that we talk about during these events to give you a taste of what this is about.   If you think you’d like to have me speak to your church, school, parents, teens, elders, scout troop, coffee clutch, ladies class, mime troupe, etc.  I’d love to partner with you.  E-mail me for more info:


If there is one thing that I would say to parents regarding technology and your family, it would be, “Do you practice any kind of tech Sabbath?”  Here is what I mean,  “Do you have a time each day when you aren’t accessible via cell phone, text message, e-mail, etc.?”  I believe that if we find ourselves constantly connected 24 hours a day 7 days a week, we run the risk of developing a God-complex that fools us into thinking that the world can’t run without us.  Do you intentionally power down these devices so that the temptation to check your e-mail is gone.  Do you power off so that you won’t get distracted by the buzz of a text message while trying to have dinner together as a family?

How about looking at this not as a form of denial, but as a chance at freedom?  What if you had an hour each day where you didn’t have to worry about these things?  What if in that hour you were able to be fully present with your son or daughter?  What if EVERYONE in your family powered down so that when you were together, you were really TOGETHER!  Can you imagine that kind of freedom?

CONFESSION:  I know that when I am with my kids and I feel that buzz of a text message in my pocket, I instantly become 50% LESS available to them mentally.  In my mind I am wondering, “Who texted me?  What do they need?  I am important!” and I am instantly transported mentally away from my daughters and to a nether region of text-a-topia where the world is allegedly more interesting.

But that is a lie.  A false story that I have bought into.

So do this today…don’t start with an hour…just try 15 minutes or 30 minutes and ease into this discipline.  Because that is what it is…a discipline.  We have immersed ourselves into technology so much that it is going to take initiative, discipline, courage, willpower, and wisdom just to find the power button on those shiny little devices that hold so much power over us.

Baby steps . . . one at a time . . . you can do this . . .