Unplugged, chapter 2

John 6: 68

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 

My daughter leaves on a missionary internship today.  Part of her enculturation process is that she will have to be technology-free (no phone, no internet, no television, etc.) for SIX WEEKS with the exception of Sundays.  On Sundays she can use her phone to call us, or post on Facebook, or post an entry on the blog she has created.  But for the other six days of the week, she will be unplugged. 

We have joked a bit over the last couple of days about what it will be like when she has a question and she can’t go to Google for her answer.  Think about it.  How often do you Google something during the average day?  What would you do if you needed to know, say, where the nearest Target was, and you couldn’t Google it? 

Why, children, back in my day, if we wanted to know where something was, we asked someone. Yes, a real human being.  You might get a response like, “Well, you head west on M-46 until you see the Big Boy.  Turn left there.  It’s about three-quarters of a mile down the road. You can’t miss it.” (**To my Gratiot County friends, a girl can dream, can’t she?)

Sometimes we wrote the directions down, but more often, we recited them back, “M-46 to the Big Boy, take a left, three-quarters of  mile.  Thanks!” After we’d driven to a certain location a few times, it was committed to memory.  It was likely that we gave similar to directions to the next guy who needed to find the Target. 

I learned most things this way, by someone telling me. I learned how to French braid my hair, how to cook McDonald’s French fries, how to drive a car (Thanks, Roger), and how to fill out a 1040EZ tax form.  Someone told me, and likely showed me

I think that is the point of MissionYear telling its interns that they have to put the technology away for six weeks.  MissionYear’s strategy is for the volunteers to immerse themselves in the community, to make connections, and build relationships.  It’s a little easier to build relationships when you actually speak to people.  When we walk around with our faces in our phones, finding our own answers, we don’t have to interact, don’t have to ask for help, don’t have to rely on anyone else.  

It’s the American way. 

Sometimes we have to do something a little counter-culture.  We have to put the phone down.  We have to ask someone how to find the nearest Target.  Sometimes, they not only give us directions, but they walk along beside us for part of the way.  They ask us our names.  They ask where we’ve been.  They want to know our story. 

Google doesn’t care about your story.  Just sayin’. 

Now, I’m not suggesting that we all put down our phones and close up our laptops.  They have become permanent fixtures in our society, and they, too, are vehicles for connection.  Exhibit A, this blog.  However, perhaps today before you consult Google you might first ask a real human.  You never know, they may have the answer.  They may have a story.  They may share.  Just sayin’.

Psalm 5:11

Let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. 

Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

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