Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Precious

I am somewhat embarrassed to say this, but my wife has a name for my BlackBerry. You know, that thing we grownups wear like a toy gun and holster on our belts? That thing that buzzes my hip like a little friendly bumble bee, waiting impatiently for me to pay attention?

My Precious.

Yes, that’s what she’s calls my BlackBerry, My Precious. Like Gollum. But I won’t bite off Frodo’s finger for it, that’s for sure. Well, I don’t think I would.

So what is it about Blackberrys and other smart phones that will make us ignore our kids and spouses, ignore where we’re driving on the highway, and turn our attention away from the most compelling news on the television set? What is it that so mesmerizes us?

Standing in the lunch line in our company cafeteria this week, I looked up from my BlackBerry to see that eight other people in line with me – all eight – were doing exactly the same thing as I was.

And then there was the time I interviewed a job candidate whose BlackBerry buzzed, he looked at the name of the sender, and apologized for having to take the call – from another possible employer. That ended the interview on the spot.

We all have our reasons and our excuses, but the real answer is that that little piece of computerized, connected equipment is all about us. The Great Sin.

C.S. Lewis doesn’t shy away from the hard subjects. So far in our discussion so far of Mere Christianity, we’ve seen him tackle everything from morality, belief and tolerance to sexuality, marriage and behavior, among others.

In this chapter, it’s The Great Sin.

It’s the one we’re all guilty of. The one we know intimately. The one that – for Christians – is indeed The Big One. The one that gets in the way of everything.

Pride, or self-conceit.

And it’s not an exclusively American sin. No, this one transcends cultures. If you want proof, the personal, portable phone can be found in every country around the world. Some countries are even worse than the United States.

I never expected to be thinking of my BlackBerry as The Great Sin.

But I think that’s what it is.

Our discussion of Mere Christianity is being hosted by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter. To see more posts on this chapter, "The Great Sin," please visit Jason's site, Connecting to Impact.

Photograph: Woman Texting by Petr Kratochvil via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.


Bill (cycleguy) said...

I'm in the trap, trying to get out, needing to stay in, trying to get get the picture. I was due for an upgrade for 2 years before I finally got rid of my flip phone and bought an iPhone. I wonder how I survived without it now. I don't like that feeling. It is a tough line to straddle. But I don't have an answer either.

David Rupert said...

Glynn. Funny how we are tracking together on this...and we didnt even e-communicate first! You are so right - call it precious, call it the devil, call it my buddy, but these things wrap us and hold us tight. We serve technology.

Maureen said...

Great intro to the topic for the Mere Christianity discussion.

I once got my husband to turn off all his electronics when he walked in the door (he's required to have a BlackBerry). Notice I said "once". I have to say, I don't "get it". Of course, I also don't have a BlackBerry or an iPad or an iPod or a digital camera and only use a cell phone for long-distance calls.

I fear for what our technology has brought.

Dusty Rayburn said...

I am not Blackberry (or in my case Android) guilty. It typically gets ignored when in company of others.

I am however guilty of self-centered, pride and conceit. And I am not proud of it. It is something I continually struggle against.

Duane Scott said...

I'm addicted to my iPhone.

However, whenever I'm at a social function, it stays in my car. And eating out with friends... it gets ignored.

Cell phone etiquette is outta control these days and I have to harp on my younger brother all the time.

"Oh, so you're glued to your phone?" I tell him, "Good luck with the ladies."

I know I'm way off, but I think there are more and more people not showing their true colors in real life, but only living vicuriously through their social networks.

It's sad really.

jasonS said...

Oh it's a balancing act, isn't it? It can devolve quickly if we don't pay attention. Thanks Glynn for the humor and gut-punch. :)

S. Etole said...

Here I thought I'd be reading about your wife! :-)

nance marie said...

i must disagree with the blackberry being the culprit. and i don't see using one as necessarily being the great sin either. for it actually the reasoning behind the use of it. the attitude and reason in which you have and use one can be where pride could take hold and grow though. does having the blackberry make you better than someone else? does it cause you to look down on others? maybe you are being content in your own admiration. or do you just like to relate with others?

i am sorry glynn, you might get distracted and need to be more thoughtful of how and when you use your blackberry, but, i don't see a huge problem with pride within that. maybe it can take hold in the admiration of self...but since you do care what people still doesn't sound like the pride that i read about.

maybe it is just about when it is and where one is and with who one is with when using the easy and convenient forms of entertaining communication.

i think that perhaps there is a balance to be had in when and how much we relate with the face to face people that are around us.

i do agree, however, that pride is the we can see it in others more easily than ourself, and it gets in the way of knowing God, and gets in the way of everything, and eats away at all that we know of as good.

nance marie said...

okay...that all needs a good editing. i really should read my comments before pressing the publish button instead of after.

Ann Kroeker said...

I love the nickname. I might send this link to my sister-in-law in case she wants to propose the same nickname for my brother's iPhone. :)

Mama Zen said...

I'm not even going to tell you the names I call my husband's iPhone!

Karen Eck said...

Like any tool, it is characterized by the intentions poured into it, whether sinful or God-honoring.

Karen Eck said...

You prompted a poem ... Thanks!

Helen said...

I don't have a Blackberry, but I do have a computer that I'm chained to at times. Thank you for pointing out why. No really. Thank you. I can't break the chain if I don't recognize the material of which it is made.

Connie@raise your eyes said...

Broke the chains to my Blackberry and happily "downgraded". Honestly, emailing with my thumbs all day needed to stop!