There was once a great teacher. He had many followers. Some were more dedicated than others and chose to frequent his classes and public presentations. His message became familiar. Too familiar.
Over time, while the teacher was speaking, those who thought they knew his words all too well disengaged. Not intentionally. They simply occupied themselves with other interests. Specifically, smartphones and tablet devices. It seemed quite productive.
Gatherings of any kind with the teacher enabled his followers to text friends. Make appointments. Catch up on emails. Read up on the latest news. Some of them were even caught laughing out loud at memes. Or their smartphones would ring. Now that was embarrassing.
Occasionally, an announcement was made before the teacher began to speak. It said, “Please. Refrain from distracting technology so that what is being said can be learned and applied.” But many paid no heed.
It was not too long before even the most dedicated followers found the teacher’s messages passé The thrill of social media and being “in the know” captivated them more than the wisdom from the teacher. They became fad followers. And many of them lost common sense.
My fictional story may have a not so obvious point. I have become increasingly troubled by what has become nothing short of rude social behavior. Rude with no words being said.
I’ve been in meetings and gatherings where many in the crowd “tune out” what is being said or done for the pleasure of their technology. It would be one thing if devices were used to take notes or contribute to the purpose of the gathering (e.g. tweeting a highlight at the speaker’s request or with permission.) But this is quite often not the case.
People are just deciding that their private world takes priority over the very reason they are in the group. It’s less noticeable in a larger setting. Yet I’ve sat in small groups with people sharing ideas and personal thoughts and watched other group members disengage and start texting. Really!
I thought about this as it relates to the true Great Teacher, Jesus. His disciples followed Him around every day. And likely got very familiar with the content of His messages. Imagine that group emailing, texting, and laughing over memes with each other while Jesus “droned on” to the masses.
Even more so, imagine the pleas of your heart for yourself, your child, your most precious need … going unnoticed to a God with a gadget. Imagine Jesus constantly checking texts instead of gazing deeply into the eyes of His followers; and listening closely to someone … like you.
For the record, I’m gadget equipped. But when a technology asset becomes a liability, it’s time for a gut check. And if you find yourself addicted to the latest update at the expense of good social behavior, I have a word for you: repent!
That, my friend, is common sense. And a good resolution to start 2014.
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