Cell phones -- and the various applications that ensure interconnectivity with tens, hundreds and thousands of 'friends' -- are currently destroying the Christian family. A false sense of humility makes many a Christian parent think that's okay. Do you fall into this trap?
An Example of 'Good' Christian Social Networking
Would you have known that Moroccan authorities are actively persecuting Christians - including young children - in Amizmiz? Would you know that the new Moroccan Justice Minister Mohamed Naciri gave the order that caused the crackdown?
Unless you read the article on the Religion News Blog, you were most likely alerted to it via Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. In this case, social networking promotes prayer, contemplation, and appreciation of American religious freedom as well as (perhaps) a strengthening of the conviction to evangelize.
When Connectivity Turns "Good Christians" Into "Bad"
The downside of the instant connectivity that comes into the home via the computer, cell phone and even the game consoles is the constant availability of the data consumer. Cell phones ring at all times and friends as well as family members oftentimes push the envelope when it comes to respecting off-limit times.
The family meal that is interrupted by the phone call from a friend (or the playground outing that has dad talking to a distraught Christian brother about his marriage problems) are symptoms of a bigger issue that is gradually invading the Christian community: pride masked with false humility.
Pride … Again?
While the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, the sin of pride covers pretty much everything else. Constant connectivity and knowing what is going on with anyone in a Christian's sphere of influence is becoming an addiction. Facebook and Twitter updates relentlessly call attention to Internet-connected cell phones. Texting is replacing personal conversations. Online flame wars take the place of Christian conflict resolution.
The dad at the playground has a legitimate reason to answer the phone: the distraught Christian brother needs help and the second commandment, as outlined by Christ, is to 'love your brother as yourself.' Believing that he would want to have someone instantly available when needing to confess sin or discuss the latest marital spat, dad answers the phone without thinking twice. Bonding time with junior is now put "on hold."
The Trap of Being Constantly "On"
In his work 'The Screwtape Letters,' C.S. Lewis references the thought that 'experience is the mother of illusion' that is then pitted against the philosophy of equating it with maturity or even good sense. While the Christian parent actually undermines a close family relationship by being constantly available to those outside the nuclear family, s/he harbors the mistaken belief that s/he is allowing fellow-Christians from the spiritual family to benefit from her/his hard-earned maturity.
Ebullient gratitude on the part of the callers deepens this belief and feeds the need for more. Before long, the trap is sprung and the constantly "on" parent puts a spouse, children, family life and even plans on hold for anyone and everyone else.
Putting Christ Back into Cell Phone Use
Disentangle yourself from the worldwide web and the need for being "on" by making yourself available to the family.
Finish any conversations that began on the drive home when the car pulls into the driveway. The first minutes of coming home belong to the family and greetings should be unencumbered by an earpiece or phone awkwardly clamped between shoulder and ear.
Make planned activities off-limits to cell phone intrusion. These include a family meal, game night, a meal at a restaurant, picking up junior from school, the playground visit, a date with the spouse and also the daily time with God.
- Truly love your neighbor. Aunt Lucy who keeps calling about the sharp pain in her back needs a doctor, not a nephew; offer to take her to a physician. If she is just lonely, make an appointment to come over and visit. The Christian brother who is constantly warring with his wife needs marital counseling and a referral to the minister is in order. Truly loving someone may sometimes require you to tell them something they won't want to hear.
- Determine and enforce boundaries of connectivity. No tweets at mealtime, no Facebook-ing at the kids' concert performance and no cell phone interruption when the kids or spouse are talking
About Sylvia Cochran
Sylvia Cochran - Christian Parenting Corner and Common Sense Parenting and Parenting By the Book Christian Parenting Book Reviews
Sylvia is a seasoned writer, born and raised in Germany. Having been exposed to a variety of religions and traditions due to travel and study, Sylvia has been a student of the Bible for more than ten years, and has for the last four years taught in small groups about Biblical principles, practical Christianity, Christian parenting, as well as the spiritual use of money. Sylvia also provides Free Online Courses at Suite 101. Sylvia's goal is to provide help and encouragement to raise the next generation of Christ-followers.
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