Confessions of a tech addict

by Karen Stiller

Before I had my own iPhone, I judged harshly those pathetic, addicted people who always had their phones on, and on them. Always scrolling, fingers dashing from one app to another, sometimes barely looking up.

Check out our article on digital addiction and ancient disciplines in the current issue of Faith Today.

Then, of course, I quickly became one of them. My phone is almost always on and almost always on me. Our landline is a thing of the past, so, I can convince myself my phone in my pocket or my palm is necessary. How else would my kids find me on those rare instances when they still need me? More truthfully, how would I find them? What if something happens to my parents? How else will I know that my sister has made even more beet jelly, if not from Facebook? How on earth would I wake up in the morning if not for my phone alarm?

The reasons go on and on, but the truth is, I’m likely addicted to the pings and the alerts, the likes and the tags, all the amusements and the distractions. A lot of us are. And it takes a toll.

“We are not meant to live global lives,” says Rick Hiemstra. He’s director of research and media relations for the EFC, Faith Today‘s publisher, and he is one of the reasons we have such a challenging article in the Nov/Dec Faith Today, “Modern Devices and Ancient Disciplines.”

Like a lot of us, Rick is concerned about the impact of our devices on our souls and our lives and our time and our relationships. He sends us editors articles every now and then, and reads books on this topic. He suggested we do this article and we are glad we did.

Rick is also researching youth and their place in the Church, and he keeps bumping up against the digital world, and how deeply entrenched in it our youth are, and how this impacts them. By global lives, he means, of course, a life lived on the world’s stage for all to see, photographing and projecting all our edited moves for other people to like, or devastatingly, to not like, or maybe even worse, to ignore. And to be so connected to so many people that years ago we would have said farewell to and maybe run into them at some awkward high school reunion years later! Now we get to see and compare and feel better or worse on a daily basis if we want.

It’s a new world we are in, and the ancient spiritual disciplines might help us find ourselves again.

So, give this article a read, and then use that phone of yours to let us know what you think. Then set it down for a while and maybe go for a walk? That’s what I’m going to try to do.

Karen Stiller is a senior editor of Faith Today. Have you not started your Christmas shopping either? Check out this subscription deal/gift idea.

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