Confession time – I do not like the movie Bambi. Never have, never will. Never watched it with my kids or grandkids. For me, it is just simply too sad. I do, however, love Thumper, the rabbit that is a friend to Bambi. In the spring a young man’s (or bunny’s) fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. Thumper, in the movie, becomes endearingly “twitterpated.” Our society has become “Twitterpated,” but not endearingly so.
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Twitter/tweet is rather getting out of hand for those other than our feathered friends. And this time, the bird (or tweet) in the hand does not beat two birds in the bush! Thanks to every ready technology, there is a lot of birdbrained activity going on that is hazardous to your health and mine.
Our local news station ran a segment on how many people have been killed while using a mobile device while walking or driving in the past year. You probably heard the recent tragic news of a bus/truck collision in Texas in which 13 innocent older adults were killed by the driver of the truck who was texting. And this – a girl texting on her phone in our local Kroger’s the other day and (wait for it…) she walked straight into my shopping cart and then got nasty with me for “hitting her with the cart and not paying attention!”
Students at our local colleges were interviewed by the news about walking and texting or reading things on their mobile devices. They readily admit that they walk out into traffic without looking for vehicles due to being so engrossed. One young woman was hit and was hospitalized because of that sort of activity. We teach our wee ones to look both ways before crossing the street. This is what we morph into because of addiction to devices?
This Lenten season is the first one that I can recall in my 12 years of ministry that people have acknowledged that they are giving up social media or some other mobile device function for Lent. Not just one or two, but several. Who, reading this, would admit that the first thing you do when awake is check your phone? Who, reading this, won’t get a bit short of breath at the prospect of going media free for 24 hours?
Mobile devices are now being blamed for neck problems and headaches. This malady is affectionately labeled “text neck.” There is a column in our local paper entitled “Letters from Momma,” dealing with God, life and faith. The author this week addressed the question, “Would we have Prayer Neck if we had our heads bowed in prayer as much as we do texting?” Well, now, there is something to ponder. (Not that we would try it.)
So, lest you think that I am a curmudgeon regarding mobile devices, let me assure you I have them all. I would be fibbing if I told you I do not use them a lot. However, in viewing life through the lens of addiction, perhaps it would behoove us to employ some common sense with our usage. Consider how much these devices are controlling our lives versus our controlling their use.
Scripture states that God’s people can be “stiff necked”. (Exodus 32:9) Seems we come by that naturally. How much worse do we want to make it for ourselves?
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The Rev. Ruth Paulus is priest and a registered nurse and serves as rector of St. Christopher’s, Fairborn. Contact her at email@example.com.