Put Down the Phone!

by Jordan McKenzie

As many of you know, though I serve at Belmont United Methodist Church, I live about 25 minutes north of Belmont in Tipp City.

I was actually born and lived part of my life in Springfield and have lived a couple of other places as an adult, but Tipp City is my hometown. Likewise, it is my wife Emma’s hometown as well (though, like me, she has also spent time a couple other places). We’re lucky to be able to still live in Tipp.

Tipp City is a beautiful community. It has a historic downtown, wonderful little shops and restaurants, and that warm, small-town atmosphere. In fact, it was recently voted the best small town in Ohio by one publication.

Emma and the boys and I live in downtown Tipp City—just one street over from main street. (Fun fact: we used to live on the other side of main street in another house and moved to the other side for a larger house.)

Because we live in town, one of my favorite things to do in the summertime is to take long evening walks around the town. I really enjoy my walks, but I’ve noticed something. There are lots of people around town at night, but nearly all of them are busy on their cellphones as they’re out and about. So much so that they don”t even seem to enjoy what’s happening around them. Oftentimes I literally walk right past someone on the sidewalk and they don’t even look up at me or acknowledge me. They can’t even muster a simple hello or smile… because they’re glued to their phone.

This is not unique. I go to dinner and see entire families not looking at one another, but instead all silently looking at their phones. I stop at stoplights and notice nearly everyone looking at their phones, no doubt checking social media or texting.

Now, before I sound all high-and-mighty, I will admit that I’m often just as bad as anyone else. I’m no saint when it comes to technology. But I just wonder, how much are we missing when we’re glued to our cellphones? How many of our country’s problems could be solved if we simply put down our phones more often and talked with one another? What if we actually cared more about the person right in front of us than the other people off in cyberspace? What if we truly took time to be present to one another?

Cell phones and other technology are great tools. They’re not sinful or evil or anything like that.  But I do wonder how often they get in the way of the life that God wants for us. I think there’s a lot that God could teach us, a lot that God could show us, about each other and the beauty that surrounds us, if we put our phones down every once and awhile.

Perhaps you’d like to join me in being intentional about sometimes setting the phone down and being present where you’re at. Who knows what God may do?

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