The thoughts, reflections and musings of an average Church of England Priest
Saturday, 7 March 2015
40 Acts - Off the Hook
"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." James 1:19 (NIV)
There is no object that has revolutionised my day-to-day life more than the iPhone. All of my communication, notes, calendar entries, contacts and more go through it. It’s by my side 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So needless to say, when I was asked to write about ‘put the phone down’ my heart both sank and was excited.
You see, I know how bad I am at giving people my full attention and leaving my (constantly vibrating) iPhone in my pocket. Nobody is worse than me at this challenge.
But the good news is that today gives me an excuse to drop the technology and embrace the real, rather than the virtual. I’m going to smile at people rather than send them smileys. I’m going to talk to people rather than email them. And I’m going to write notes down on a real piece of paper using a real pen and my very best joined up handwriting. These thoughts are strangely exciting.
The Bible tells Christians to be 'quick to hear' and 'slow to speak' (James 1:19). Leaving your iPhone at home is a great way to quicken your hearing of what people are saying. (If you've ever read a text message instead of listening to the person opposite you, you'll know exactly what I mean.) The more we give people our full attention, the more we will be 'quick to hear'. And when our hearing is enhanced, our spoken responses will be more considered.
There’s something wonderful about living in the moment, free from the distractions of technology. However you observe today’s ‘put your phone down’ day, my recommendation is to find space to ‘live in the moment’. I don’t often quote Buddhist monks but Thích Nhất Hạnh was right when he said, ‘The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.’