I went camping over the Labor Day weekend and my phone died. So I couldn’t be reached or reach out to anyone else. I couldn’t take photos and share my experience with the world. A dead phone can teach you quite a lot about yourself, your connectivity, and your faith. Four days of camping getting reconnected with my friends, my new “family”, God’s wonderful beauty up on Mt. Rainier, and especially reconnected with God.
Untethered to my phone gave me a new freedom, a sense of being I had only had when I didn’t have a cell phone in the first place, only six months ago. This freedom of being untethered also came with questions about my faith, which is something I think about much these days. How much does it really matter if people like what I write, like what I post, comment on what I share? Does it really matter if someone retweets what I tweet?
How much has social media molded and changed our faith? Everywhere we turn our lives are being recorded for the world to see, approve, and comment on. Is it anyone’s business but my own, what color my hair is? Or should I get a tattoo or not (no I’m not getting a tattoo, yes I do think they can be pretty, but I would never get one!) So many people’s faith or lack there-of is molded by what they read, see, or listen to on social media. We tend to look at social media like it’s the Truth.
In the book The Hyperlinked Life by Jun Young & David Kinnaman, a good short read, it explains the struggle we as Christians have with being hyperlinked, as the authors put it. They conducted a study of how difficult it is to live the world we have today tethered to social media, or hyperlinked as they put it.
The general findings of our study suggest that Christians grapple with the hyperlinked lifestyle, certainly as much as non-Christians and perhaps, in some cases, more so than non-Christians. This shouldn’t be surprising because the practices of a hyperlinked life are reshaping the spiritual disciplines of Christian faith. A friend shares his concern: “I’m having a hard time doing morning devotions. My first inclination is to reach for my phone and see what’s happening. At church, during the sermon, I use my phone to look up Scripture, but then I end up checking email, sports, news, and all that.”
Do you have Facebook Faith? Do you check in to your Facebook page before you check in with God? Can you turn off your phone during church? Yes, I know that most of us making a living by using their phones, myself included. But there is a time and a place to turn it off, and just ignore the tweets, the likes, and the comments.
As I said earlier, I went four days with no phone, and it was so liberating that when I finally got my phone charged and turned it back on I took all the forms social media . I’d rather have my faith molded by reading and studying God’s word, practicing meditative prayer, and connecting with the people around me on an intimate level. Yes, I’m still on social media but it is limited to my personal laptop, when it’s on.
Untether yourself from social media and you’ll soon realize that life gets less hectic, less stressful and you’ll get your life and your wellness back.