Posts Tagged ‘idolatry’

How Technology Rules Us: Part 3

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

cell-phone-2One of the things I love about having a cell phone is the fact that I always have a camera with me. I also have a video camera. It’s unbelievable how much technology is present in a phone that’s so small and thin that it fits in your pocket. At soccer practice one day, I was snapping a picture of my son when suddenly my phone started buzzing. I thought that was strange, since I hadn’t changed anything on my phone to cause it to vibrate. I looked at my phone, and it told me to check in.

As I looked at my phone in a bewildered fashion, it rang right in my hand. I answered it. It was my husband wanting me to check in. “What on earth do you mean? And by the way, my picture of Nathaniel came out blurry because you buzzed my phone while I was taking a picture.”

My husband explained that he had put a GPS on my phone so that he could see where I was located. I was actually happy about this because I often get lost when driving to a new location. I’m deep in thought and then miss my turn off point. While driving to my sister’s house years ago when I was single, I ended up in a different state. Yep. I have no sense of direction whatsoever. Even after exiting the grocery store, I will sometimes forget where I parked, so I have to press the lock button on my keys to “beep” the van so that I can find it.

All this to say that I was fine with my husband knowing where I was. He showed me how to check in. Then I said, “Can’t you just track me without my knowing? There must be a way for you to do it behind my back. I would rather not check in and have you ruin my pictures. I almost dropped my phone.”

My husband figured out how to track me without my knowing it, but the battery goes dead faster. My husband was playing with my phone one day and wondered why the battery was so low. He decided to switch the GPS off.

Another thing I love about my phone is the fact that I can speak into it, and it googles that thing. For example, I wondered whether the costume shop was open yet. So I said, “Display House, Spokane Valley, Washington.” I waited a few seconds, and I could see the hours it was open, and that it wasn’t open yet. I saved myself a half hour trip just because of my cell phone.

Navigation was something my husband used while we were out of town this summer. The phone just told my husband where to go to get to the convention center. “Turn right,” the robot woman would say. I listened to so many instructions that I had a conversation with my husband in a staccato robot voice, throwing in a joke. I made my husband laugh.

The wonders of modern technology never cease… Unfortunately as I rely more and more on my phone, I have become the very person that I said I wouldn’t become, someone who was ruled by a cell phone. And yet it’s so convenient and helpful…

How Technology Rules Us: Part 2

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011


<Chime> <chime> <chime> <chime> <chime> My husband walked from the kitchen to the bedroom and said, “Your cell phone is chiming like the bells on Christmas morning.”

“That doesn’t mean anything. My cell phone is constantly burping and chiming. It’s like a baby that wants constant attention. I just check it once in awhile,” I said, the novelty of the cell phone wearing off. I walked over to see what had caused so many back-to-back chimes, and I had 11 text messages all from one sister. Apparently she had written me a long letter, and the text messaging had broken it up into bits. I sat down and read the letter.

On a different occasion, I had gotten busy and had forgotten to check my phone for two days. A different sister had texted me two days previous and thought I was mad at her because I had ignored her. It made sense that my sister would think that I wore my phone, since that is what she did. My sister has six children, one of them married, the other five teenagers. She keeps tabs on them continuously through text messaging. I texted her that I had just gotten her message. I felt defeated. I wondered how long my sister had been upset with me, and I was sad that I had negatively affected her life because I hadn’t checked my cell phone.

Even all the way back to the first day, my sweet husband had called me. Apparently he called me three times on my cell phone before breaking down and calling our home number. I answered the phone, “Hello?”

“Susan, how come you’re not answering your cell phone? What’s the point of having cell phones if I can’t call you?”

I said, “I didn’t hear it ring. Through a closed door, it’s too quiet to hear, even on full blast. Do you want me to take it into the bathroom with me? If I don’t have any pockets, do you want me to carry it around with me while I’m doing chores?”

My husband was frustrated. If I tried to take it everywhere with me, I would forget where I set it down. Finally my husband decided to call the home number if I was at home, and the cell number when I was out. That made more sense, since I was actually carrying it while I was out.

Soon my husband was downloading lots of apps, mostly games. We were in the living room one evening in front of a lovely fire in the fireplace. (This was back in May.) The television was off, and through the flicker of firelight, I could see my husband poking his phone. I smiled at him because he was like a boy with a new toy. I went to get my phone. My husband showed me how to download apps, so I chose some free apps and downloaded them. Apps about jokes and love poems ended up being horrible (I wanted clean jokes and classical love poems), and I said, “How do I get apps off my phone?!” He helped me to delete them.

I found the app “Grace to You,” sermons by John MacArthur that I could hear through my phone. My husband and I had originally met at Grace Community Church over 20 years ago. One day as I was listening to a sermon in my bedroom, my husband walked through the room. He recognized John MacArthur’s voice, and he was drawn like a magnet to the Word of God. He came and lay down on the bed next to me, the phone between us, blaring the voice of our long-ago pastor, who was preaching Scripture fearlessly. My husband and I had been listening to watered-down sermons for months at various churches as we prayed about where God wanted us to be. We were both starving for a good sermon, and my eyes teared up as I saw passion for the Word of God in my husband’s eyes. I realized then that my silly cell phone had drawn us together…

Is Fun Evil?

Thursday, May 12th, 2011


Is fun evil?

There is a growing movement in homeschool circles that claims that fun is evil. They point to our society to show that Americans live for fun rather than for God. (They’re right, by the way.) For that reason, they believe their homeschool families should never be allowed to have fun.

Homeschoolers of all people have already put everything on the altar, and they don’t act like normal Americans. They don’t bow down and worship fun at all. It’s the opposite. They have a huge responsibility on their shoulders, and way more work than ordinary people. It’s relentless, because they have to live with it 24/7. They actually need more fun in their lives: more fun seeking God, more fun with their spouses, and more fun bonding with their children.

Fun is refreshing; laughter is good for the soul. Fun is experiencing joy with the people you love. Life is so horrible already because of sin and strife. Let’s cling to God, our husbands, and our children and breathe joy into their lives and not make them feel like they’re in shackles. Shackles are from the enemy, who will cause us to prioritize the wrong things, often to look good to outsiders. Just connect to God and walk by His Spirit. It’s that simple.

Before I go further, I would like to say that the pursuit of fun can be evil, if we are pursuing that instead of God. Some things capture our attention and draw us away from God instead of towards Him. Reading, for example, can be idolatry if we get angry when our child interrupts our book. Our book was more important than our child at that moment, and that was sin. Anything can be sin. But that doesn’t mean you banish everything and make up tons of rules and impose them on people. All of us have idolatry. This world is too distracting. This does not negate the fact that God came to give us life abundantly, that He has given us all good things to enjoy, and that one of the fruits of the Spirit is joy.

John Piper, in his book Desiring God, states that the Christian life is all about the enjoyment of God. When we enjoy God, we spend more time with Him. And when we learn something new about God, we do sweet somersaults in our soul. Yes, John Piper calls this Christian hedonism, and he wholeheartedly endorses it. That’s because Scripture calls us to love God with wild abandon, and the only way to do it is when we enjoy Him thoroughly. Otherwise it’s only duty.

Many people feel the same way about church, that it’s a duty, and that it shouldn’t be fun. They don’t look forward to serving God’s people with wild abandon the way that God desires us to. They barely attend, leaving immediately after the service, never connecting to the body of Christ, which is the only real reason to gather. You can hear sermons and Christian worship over the radio. The church is the people. Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together. He didn’t say preaching or singing. He said assembling. Look at the description of spiritual gifts and the command to use them in the body of Christ, not just at your house. Many homeschool parents disobey this command because they focus only on their children. They want to look good to the other people of the church. Because of this, they are too haggard to obey God by connecting with other believers.

Most homeschool parents are exhausted. Do you realize that fun is a part of rest? Part of the definition of rest is “leisure,” and we as homeschool parents don’t have it. We need to make time for it, especially when it comes to spending time with our spouse. My husband, for example, can sleep for ten hours and still not feel rested. He is weary. Often if he can just go out on a date with me or go shooting with a buddy, he ends up feeling refreshed, more so than a full night’s sleep. Why? Because fun is refreshing. It’s a break for the mind. Yes, fun can be exactly what your weary body needs.

What Keeps You from Church?

Monday, April 4th, 2011

what-keeps-you-from-churchI flopped on the bed and said, “The kids are fed, and they’re ready for church. Technically three of them are sick with a cold and are probably contagious. But if we sit in the back and leave right after the service, they should be fine.”

My husband replied, “It’s not considerate to take sick kids that are contagious to church. I’ll stay home this time.”

I got up and told the kids to change out of their church clothes. My oldest son was disappointed, but my second son cheered. The other two had no reaction. I went back into the bedroom to tell my husband the reaction of our two older sons, and how disturbed I was by the reaction of our second son, who normally loved to go to church.

“Can I play Wii?” shouted my second son from the next room.

“No,” I said flatly. I told my husband that he needed to talk to our second son, since the Wii was obviously the idolatry that had trumped his desire to go to church.

I said good-bye, and off I went to church. When I came home, my husband told me of the conversation he had with my second son. He made my son ponder how much time he spent in the Word of God compared to how much time he spent on the Wii. This would show him what his true love was. My son stopped and thought about it. He has had a soft heart to God for years now, and as parents, we want to make sure that his heart is never hardened by the things of this world. Apparently he took it to heart.

For me, on the other hand, what keeps me from church? Knowing I have to face people who have hurt me, when I see that they still haven’t repented and probably never will. Knowing that the pastor isn’t perfect. Knowing that if God prompts me to speak up, I will get in trouble for obeying God.

And yet there’s something compelling about being with God’s people. Even with all the flaws, something burns inside of me when another believer is talking to me about the things of God. It’s like the people walking on the road to Emmaus, when they knew that Jesus was with them. The church is the body of Christ, and Christ is there, displayed within each person as they use their spiritual gifts. If I’m an eyeball, I can’t hear and I can’t walk without them. God says I need them. That’s why no matter how I feel, I must return to the beautiful fire, the fire that hurts and purifies, before my ember goes out.

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 (KJV)