Thursday, March 25, 2010


A friend told me of a recent trip out of town with a companion. All the way up to their destination and all the way back, the companion, mobile phone in hand, texted people.

From what I hear and see--including drivers thumbing the keys on their mobile phones while their cars are in motion--my friend's companion is a typical--and sad--captive in this hyper-connected 21st century.

Increasingly, the I-Phone and the Black Berry are as essential for many people as an oxygen tank and tube are for a person with emphysema.

Many regard the mobile as a lifeline to the larger world, which can be good and necessary. But it can also be a way to ignore others. It can distract the user from life that's happening right now. And some users might even think that it's the one thing keeping them from disappearing into silence and nothingness.

I text; therefore, I am.

I read recently of a rabbi in Brooklyn who knows the dangers of hyper-connectivity and who's doing something about it.

He's calling on the members of his congregation to observe an Unplugged Sabbath, one day a week, Saturday for Jews, to turn off mobile phones (and what about laptops like this one I'm using?) and observe a day of rest and worship of God, the original intention of God's instituting the sabbath, according to Genesis.

God took a break, the Bible says, and so why don't we humans do the same thing? For a day, be it Saturday or Sunday, the Christian sabbath, let's unplug from the satellite network (and that primitive land line). Shut down the home internet. Go silent and still.

And with hands freed from slavery to our mobiles--and weary thumbs relaxed and rested for a full 24 hours--we can them fold them in prayer to God and lift them up in praise of him who gives life, joy, peace.

Ah, yes, peace. Remember it?

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