Thursday, January 8, 2015

Playing God

I just finished a great week at the National Conference on Student Ministry (NCYM).
Great Speakers
Great Information
Great People
It was know...great!

The Executive Director of Youth Specialties (YS), Mark Matlock keynoted a night of the conference and had a perspective on social media I had never considered.  He likened our (student and adult) obsession with our connections to media (social and otherwise) as an attempt to be omnipresent.  Since God is the only one with omnipresent capabilities, we end up stressed, burdened and unable to be fully present in any of our contexts. We are not built or intended to be omnipresent. So, if we want be fully present with our God, spouse, family and friends we need to Stop Playing God!

Yes, I know.  It hit me as well.  I never considered an obsession with social media as an attempt to claim an attribute of God, but Mark is right.  None of us are so important that a night without posting, checking or sending would stop the Earth's rotation.  Deep inside, all of us know that a night without posting, checking and sending would create a much needed breath and space in our already busy and crowded lives.  A breath and space that would allow us to be fully present.

Take this little quiz (totally made up and unscientific-but it helps evaluate your level of media obsession) to see if you are Playing God:
  • Do you ever "power down" your phone and media devices? Related, can you leave your phone or media devices off at night?
  • Do you "check" your phone and media devices during meal times?
  • Do you "share" too many moments or too much information via phone and media devices-in other words, you are often guilty of TMI? (This is a question best answered by a spouse or friend because those who "share" too much can't see the problem)
  • Do you "reach" for your phone every time you hear a ring tone (whether it is your tone or not)?
  • Do you "check" your phone or media device when in conversation with others?
If by answering these questions you have discovered you are trying to live the life of a god, the answer is simple (I did not say easy): Power Down and Live in the Present!

Power Down! Self explanatory, find the "off switch" more often. 

And practically, "live" more in the present and "share" less online!  Like this moment from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  A moment that ends Walter's adventure filled journey to find a famed photographer (Sean Penn) who is discovered while patiently waiting to snap a picture of an allusive snow leopard. Ghost Cat

Right after this moment (sorry-I could not find the clip), the Snow Leopard appeared and the photographer did something incredible.  He did not take the picture.  Why?  (paraphrased) Some moments are best experienced and not shared.  

Power Down and Live in the Present!