This week I am learning, in painful spurts, all the ways I am electronically tethered. It all started with an innocent cell phone purchase back in 1994. Already the church where I was serving as pastor had presented me a pager – you know, in case of emergencies. I saw the phone as a better way to communicate. That same year we also “got connected” to the internet and the world wide web. To my knowledge no one in the small church I was serving had an email account at that time so I was reduced to corresponding to the Director of Mission, who was a wizened old man in his thirties.
You can probably track the evolution of the electronic leash from here. Cell phones no longer come in bulky bags, one per household, but now have nearly replaced the old fashioned “land line” telephone and email accounts have spawned like a virus. The tethering continues with text messaging, social networking, smart phones, and lots and lots of battery rechargers. My routine is to start the day by plowing through all of the messages, contacts, funny stories, urgent replies and the like.
This week I am on this boat – well, it is a ship actually. All of those ways of staying connected and tethered and leashed now come with a cost. There are pricey fees for everything from a simple phone call to a quick email (which, by the way, is exactly how I am sending this article, although I found a place with free internet connection. I had to hike twelve miles crossing a rain forest and hooked up to solar powered mule that had satellite connection – okay, I made that last sentence up, but I am amused at the extremes I will go to for something that is free).
The point of all of this is that I am reminded, amazed, amused and a little bit chagrined at how often I feel tethered or leashed to these products that are suppose to be for our convenience. The truth is possessions can very easily posses the possessor.
What leashes you or tethers you down? Is it your work, your social obligations, or your material goods? There is a difference between staying connected and being imprisoned.
In Luke 12 Jesus said, “24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!… 29 And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying… 31 Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.”
Be free sisters and brothers,