Watching Your Technology Diet

Written by Devon Bowman

The irony of the blog post I am writing is not lost on me. I sit here as a Media Pastor, typing on a laptop, for an internet blog that will go out to our website and app. It will be shared and read on social media and without each piece of technology you would not be reading this blog at all. Even so, I think  we as Christians must evaluate our relationship with technology in our everyday lives.

For most of us, picking up our phones has become as natural as walking. It has almost become a reflex to fill every spare moment of our lives with consumption of media. We scroll Facebook,  look at news, watch YouTube and the list goes on and on. What we think will be a quick look at what friends are doing turns into 30 minutes or an hour of constant scrolling. We look up and say, “Where did the time go?” We feel as though it is time wasted and that we did not benefit one bit from it, and yet our next free moment we are back to scrolling. We feel as though our attention is fragmented, and we struggle to concentrate on one thing as long as we used to.

I am not writing this to say  we should become Luddites or join the nearest Amish community as quickly as possible, but I do think we certainly should consider our relationship to technology in our lives. It is said that inventors ask if something can be made, not whether it is necessarily good. I find this is the same for our consumer culture. We are quick to automatically accept the next big thing as unquestionably the next good thing. For years, we have gobbled up every new social media as a net positive to our lives without considering how it is drastically affecting the way we live. I am not here to offer solutions for every reader's life, but I do think there are fundamental questions every person, and especially every Christian, must ask themselves.

How does technology affect my mind?

There has been much research on the fact that our attention spans have greatly decreased due to constant internet usage. We have become so accustomed to watching 10 second stories and immediately moving on to the next entertaining post; and our minds have become so fragmented that it is hard to give attention to something lasting. How is this affecting the way we listen to our pastor, or pray and seek the Lord, or meditate on what the Scriptures say? This is not to mention the fact that algorithms are made to keep us glued to our phones. In fact, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal details that Instagram use has been proven to cause depression; and although the company has known this for years, they have done nothing about it.We have to approach our use of these media with the understanding that they are not made with our best interests in mind.

How does technology affect my relationship with others?

I believe  this question is one that many people have been asking themselves for a while now. We find that although we are more connected than ever, we also feel more distanced from meaningful relationships. This is displayed most strikingly when you see people gathered together and all of them are sitting on their phones instead of conversing with one another. Our relationships are now being mediated by a screen instead of enjoying one another face to face. We know that we in the church are the body of Christ. God has given us the joy of being in a community of brothers and sisters that we have the opportunity to grow alongside. We should not trade real-life messy but rewarding relationships for the belief that we know someone based only on their most curated moments on the Internet.

How does technology affect my relationship with God?

This is the most important question of all, yet I am afraid it is left unasked all too often. I mentioned above how our fragmented minds contribute to a lack of attention, but what about when technology use is our default mode? What if our spare moments are full of Facebook feeds instead of prayer? What if we are more concerned about what we read on Twitter than the word of God? What if we are so busy looking at Instagram that we ignore the beautiful creation that God has so wonderfully made? Are we like those in Romans chapter 1 who, “claiming to be wise[...]became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things”? Maybe we do not physically bow before our screens in worship like a false god, but where our minds feel at home and our fingers click can point to an idol all the same.

 In conclusion, I do not want to sound overly pessimistic or to claim technology is bad. I am thankful for technology, and I am certainly thankful we can use it in ways that glorify God and bring us closer to him. We can listen to sermons, encourage our friends, connect with our church, read blogs (like this one), and so many other uplifting things. However, just because we are able to use it in those ways does not mean that all our interactions with the web are good. We must prayerfully consider what role we allow it to play in our lives. When people say they are praying over their next job, or what city their family lives in, or the calling that God has placed on their lives, we respond with a hearty “Amen!” Should we not all the more, then, encourage one another to pray to the Lord intently on how we should spend our time and our lives on the Internet? I have written this article as someone who the Lord has convicted over the past several months about their relationship with technology. I do not have this figured out in the slightest; but just as I understand that the food I eat determines the physical body I have, the diet of technology I consume shapes my soul. So I invite you along with me to pray that God shapes our relationship with technology more than our culture does.

1 Comment

John Stuart Keytack - November 8th, 2021 at 1:08pm

I really like our posts on YouTube where you and Pastor Jason sit and discuss a topic! They are done well and are quite informative. That's one example in which technology can be a benefit to us. :-)