Saturday, February 28, 2009

Why We Can't Handle Being Alone

I've jumped on the bandwagon.

  • I have a cell phone with unlimited text messaging (and have learned a whole new language: "u gng 2 a movie 2nite?") which I've found myself inadvertently reverting in my normal writing routines.
  • I'm on Facebook (passed 700 friends a while back. My rule is that I won't "friend" anyone I don't have some sort of personal relationship with) and voraciously check the statuses of my "friends", probably too much.
  • I'm even thinking about twittering.

But I'm starting to have misgivings about it all. I am wondering where all this instant availability will take us as a culture and what it will mean for the quality of our relationships.

Since we are made in God's image (i.e., for relationships), do we harm that image when we no longer look each other in the eye, hear each other's voice and spend time in each other's presence? And what happens to us when we can longer be alone?

Dallas Willard says that solitude (i.e., being alone) is the foundational spiritual discipline. In it, we are alone with God and really do find out if there is something to us. And if we can no longer really be does that fare for our future and our ability to truly be human beings made to reflect the (relational) image of God?

This article from the Boston Globe, "The End of Alone", confirmed some of my suspicions.

Some poignant quotes from it:

"What's fueling this? Conley says it's anxiety borne out of a deep-seated fear that we're being left out of something, somewhere, and that we may lose out on advancement in our work, social, or family lives if we truly check out. "The anxiety of being alone drives this behavior to constantly respond and Twitter and text, but the very act of doing it creates the anxiety."

"Loneliness is ubiquitous...But people are less equipped to deal with it. Rather than going deeper, they try to push it aside."

A short man-on-the-street video the Boston Globe did on the subject:

I'm not suggesting we jettison the technology, I'm asking how we need to treat it and behave toward it. Thoughts?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Consumerism 101 (or how to know when your child has been watching too much TV)

Hudson quips this morning over breakfast while covered in a blanket because he was cold,
"the man on TV says that when you wear a blanket your arms are trapped. But if you buy a Snuggie you won't be."

He is four (FOUR!)
He is not allowed to watch anymore TV.

Morning Glory

This was what greeted me when I came out to my car a couple weeks ago.

I have missed you snow!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

How to Look Smart

Found a great place to do the spade work of digging into the ancient text we know as the Bible in preparation for bringing that message forward into the 21st Century. It's a seminary library with great resources.

But just like every place, there are status symbols. Or rather here, smart symbols.

Pseudo-smart. Bible open + notebook with copious notes + thin reference book = smirks of disapproval.

Smart. Bible open + notebook with copious notes + monster thick reference book = eyebrows raised in impression.

The score keeping game is rooted deep in the human heart. Here's to creating the beloved community Jesus had in mind where you are accepted no matter how "thick" your books are.