This is a guest post from Maureen Henen – a undergraduate student in Australia, who has appeared on this blog before. In this post, Maureen articulates one of the greatest challenges of our modern era and the effect that it has on our ability to connect to God - an important topic that we all need to pay attention to. And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
I am sitting here on my 5 hour flight flying across the country – from East Coast to West Coast – and I am dead bored! I tried sleeping; but that only lasted an hour. I need something to keep me occupied so where do I turn to? Where does one go in this modern world when bored and looking to pass time?
To our trusty friend... TECHNOLOGY! He's never let me down...
...until just now. This is how it went:
I opened up my laptop, anticipating the many movies and TV shows waiting for me when the unimaginable happened; ‘cannot connect’.
What do you mean CANNOT connect? I specifically charged my laptop this afternoon and installed Microsoft Silverlight so I could access the airplane’s media library! Well, it turns out that the application did not (and will not – I’ve tried about 5 times) install properly.
“So what now?” I thought to myself. “No triple J (Australian radio) to listen to, no Seinfeld to binge watch, no Instagram to scroll through. I wasn’t prepared for this!!!”
Feeling hopeless, I once again turned to modern man’s best friend, technology. Foolishly, I picked up my phone despite knowing that it was of little use to me. No games downloaded and 15,000 feet in the air where there is no mobile data or Wi-Fi connection for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and the likes. What could my phone possibly be good for?
Nevertheless, I began swiping. Swipe, click, swipe, swipe, click, click and bingo! A book was saved on my phone and not just any book, but the Bible! Looks like technology hadn’t failed me after all! With over 3,000 pages of Divinely inspired text, I would surely be entertained for the next couple of hours. Right?
I opened up my Bible app but there was one small problem: “connection weak.” Very weak. Oh no!
But I’m not talking about an internet connection here; I’m talking about the connection between me and my Bible... or more specifically, between me and the author of my Bible... God.
I tried thinking back to the last time I read my Bible. Unfortunately I couldn’t remember. So either my memory is starting to fail me, or it had been a really long time since I read my Bible.
Despite knowing the deep spiritual wisdom and insight contained within the pages of the Bible, my desire to read it was dismal. Extremely concerned with the lack of spiritual desire in my life, I decided to put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard in an attempt to connect to a better spiritual frequency and figure out where it all went so wrong. Which brings me to this blog post.
While technology has done great things for man it is a two edged sword. At the push of a button we now have access to movies, TV shows, music, Facebook, and any other up and coming social network. We are constantly connected with our friends – liking, commenting, texting, and calling.
Bored? Why not open your TV, laptop, tablet or smartphone for hours of entertainment. We are connected with anything and everything like never before... except for one thing... and that one thing happens to be the most important thing... that is the True Vine (not to be confused with the other Vine, the app that allows users to share 7-second videos :) ).
I admit that technology can be beneficial to spirituality; it gives us quick access to electronic Bibles, sayings of the church fathers, Christian literature, and let’s not forget a blog like this one!
But more often than not, technology acts as signal interference to our connection with God as we unconstructively use it to seek out the frivolities of this modern world.
Just think: the last time you were caught with a few spare moments, say while waiting to meet a friend, how long did it take you to reach for your phone to kill some time?
Ok, so we use technology for entertainment... what’s the big deal? How does that correlate to our connection with God?
Someone wise once said it this way:
“The only place where modern man does not like to visit – is himself. He cannot hear the silence, he does not want to hear the voice of his conscience. But without knowing yourself you cannot know God. Modern man lives in a shadowy world of TV, the media, the Internet, but the greatest reality in the world is the human soul. Inside we can open up the kingdom of heaven, in our heart God wants to be born!” ~ Bishop Panteleimon, 21st Century Russian Hierarch
God is constantly ‘roaming’ the earth wanting to ‘join our network’ (that parallel obviously doesn’t do God’s omnipresence and unending desire for us justice but lets run with it for the sake of creative writing).
But it’s up to us to disconnect from distraction every so often and seek silence and solitude. That’s the only way to strengthen the only true connection in our life that will never let us down – the connection to the True Vine Himself.