Are Americans too technologically dependent?
This past Sunday a "glitch" occurred that has never happened in my many years of ministry - I slept in! That's right, I slept until 7:32 AM when my wife awoke, looked at the clock and said, "Byron, it's 7:32." The first panicked words out of my mouth were "Oh my dear Lord Jesus!" Why the panic? Because our early service begins at 8:00, because it takes 15 minutes to drive from my house to the church, because I look really bad in the mornings when I awake and therefore need a shower and because I pride myself on being Mr. Punctual. In an instant our house became a scene from the movie Home Alone when they slept in and almost missed their trip to Paris. I grabbed my iPhone and told Andi to start calling my minister of music or whoever she could get to tell them that I was going to be late. Of course, they may have figured this out already when they arrived and my car wasn't there because I am always the first at church every Sunday.
What happened? The entire 20 minutes I got ready to leave I asked myself that question. I couldn't figure how this could have happened. How could I have been so tired that I slept through my alarm? I wasn't! How could I have failed to set my alarm? I didn't! How could I have not checked my alarm to make sure it was set? I did! What could have happened? What sin did I need to confess for God to allot this punishment to me? How was I going to enter the church service late and not be seen? I can't! My anxiety was through the roof and I wanted to throw up!
I arrived at the church at 8:15, grabbed my sermon outline and walked into the service at 8:17 to a round of applause. Oh there might have been one or two who were thinking "I'm glad you could see fit to join us pastor!" But most seemed took a good-natured approach to the realization that their pastor had clay feet and was far from perfection. Of course, to add insult to injury, I knew I had to address it in our late service because the word would spread and it needed to be cut off before it reached wildfire proportions. And the joking began.
But redemption is sweet! Later that morning others began to share with me how their iPhone failed them as well and they overslept. I logged onto Facebook that afternoon and numerous others were talking about their iPhone alarm failure. All of a sudden I didn't feel nearly as bad; I felt the power of redemption. It wasn't me after all. I had done everything right, following the same Saturday night routine I had followed for years. It was the phone - a piece of technology made out of plastic and silicone. Even the NY Times reported on this widespread technological malfunction that wreaked havoc around the world (http://nyti.ms/fXdT3y).
That brings me back to the original question - are we too technologically dependent. The answer for all is "yes" but there is little to nothing we can do about it. We are stuck. Computers, Smart Phones, Hi-Speed Internet, syncing and interfacing are all techno driven and are here to stay. As a result, I am pondering whether to start a new ministry at FBC-Odessa called "TDT - Technology Dependence Therapy" because I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who needs a 12 step program for technology dependence. So if you are interested, give us a call, you'll be glad you did.
But first I'm going to set my 20 year old digital alarm clock that does not interface with anything because I never want to feel that sense of Sunday morning panic again!