For the last couple of years I’ve been talking about this and threatening to do this. Two this’s actually. One is getting rid of my smart phone and the other is getting rid of social media.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-technology. I’m anti what technology is doing to us. Technology, if used properly, is wonderful. Technological advances in medicine are astounding and have helped to prolong life, give better quality of life and, in some cases, save lives. It’s not technology in and of itself that is evil and dangerous.
We are the ones who are evil and dangerous. Technology only gives us a better and more efficient tool to be evil and dangerous.
Several years ago, I fell victim to the desire for notoriety and approval. It was while I was a church planter in the Protestant tradition. It wasn’t anyone else’s fault; it was entirely my fault. Looking back, I feel like there was this culture of notoriety in the church planting world at the time. Everyone wanted to be known and be successful. That drive for success was out of a love for God and people; to see people who do not know the saving grace and love of Jesus to know Him. But the drive for notoriety is dangerous and, in some cases, may even be sinful. It certainly was for me.
Social media was not really helpful. If you had pics of you on your social media feeds with the right people, reading the right books, using the right hash tags and attending the right conferences, you could be known; especially if you were cool and drank bourbon and smoked cigars and posted pics of it on social media; all of which I did.
After all that was over for me, I looked back and realized that I was the problem. But part of that problem was exacerbated by social media. So I began to talk about deleting all my social media accounts. After awhile, I got rid of Facebook and that was a good first step. But I’ve noticed over time that my use of other social media platforms was just as bad. And, if I’m being honest, I have to admit that I have become addicted to social media. My children have even made a couple of comments recently when they’ve been asking me a question and I have my phone in my hand like, “Get off your phone, daddy.”
This election cycle has only shown this to be worse than ever. I have begun, again, to think deeply about how dangerous social media can be. Last night, my wife and I watched something on Netflix after the kids went to bed. It was a film called “The Social Dilemma.”
I sat there for about an hour and a half, watching this film, with a growing sense of horror. Listening to the people who designed this technology telling us how we are being manipulated made me angry. Listening to them telling us how they could literally change the way a mind thinks was horrifying. Listening to them telling us how they could change behavior was supremely frightening.
It was telling to me that many of the people who have helped to create this technology are now adamantly opposed to their own children having access to social media. If you’ve not seen it, I recommend it.
My wife and I talked a little about it afterwards and how frightened we were for our children and the world they would grow up in, a world where the human mind can be so easily manipulated and even, in the words of one of the men, “the very fabric of human existence could be destroyed.” The film only confirmed what I had been wrestling with for quite some time.
And now it’s time. Time for me to go. Time to unplug. I am looking forward to more time spent reading, more time spent playing games with my children, more time praying, more time being present.
As of Saturday of this weekend, I will delete all my social media feeds permanently. If you would like to stay in touch with what’s going on in my life, I will continue to write on my blog site, www.preacherinked.com, and if you have my phone number or email, you can get in touch with me there.
I wish you all well. Some of you have become and are good friends and I hope we can stay in touch. In the meantime, I’m going to be over here living my life, being present and spending more time without distractions.
Before I go, I would be remiss if I didn’t say a final thing. I want you to know that God loves you. He loves you so much that He sent His Son, the second person of the Trinity, whom we know as Jesus to take on human flesh and become one of us. Jesus lived a perfect and sinless life and He died a cruel and excruciating death to take on the sins of the world; yours and mine. Three days later, He rose again and conquered death. He has defeated sin and death forever, in His person. And you, by trusting in Him and having faith in Him and what He has accomplished, can be called a child of God, can be one with Him. I beg of you to repent and turn from your sin and place your faith, your trust and your life in the hands of Jesus the Christ. I’d love to talk with you about that if you want.
God’s peace to you all!