Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Real Presence

No, this is not a post about Communion. It’s about being wherever you are. Tim Aynes at Missions Mandate recently linked to an interview by Paul Borthwick on short-term missions.

Paul comments on social media, saying,

It’s getting increasingly difficult for Westerners to be emotionally present where they’re serving. Rather than becoming culturally immersed, they go out during the day and do ministry, but come back at night to check their Facebook pages and update their blogs. They don’t become part of the local culture because technology is keeping them connected to home.

I recently listened to Os Guinness speaking on “Survival of the Fastest.” (I downloaded it some time ago so I have no link for it. If you google it you can find several links.)

Guinness commented on being at an Anglican conference (GAFCON), during a communion service, sitting beside ten African bishops. He says that six of them were on their cellphones at the high point of communion. “They were not present.”

He speaks of being at some political gatherings with major speeches being given, and looking around and seeing all the congressmen on their Blackberries.

He continues with this assertion about technology: “The good news is you can do business everywhere. The bad news is you can do business elsewhere. … So often we are with people and we are simply not with people.”

The impact is not just on foreign missions. It is on home life (being constantly “plugged in”), personal relationships (when was the last time you were at lunch with someone who was checking their cellphone for texts or email). Technology invades our life in some dangerous ways.

So here’s my advice (which I am working hard to take): Wherever you are, be all there.


Diane Heeney said...

Thought of that Jim Elliot quote as soon as I saw the title for your post. Good one.

A friend of mine was once in disbelief to discover a couple gals texting each other right in front of her as she conducted their church ladies meeting. I guess this "new" phenomenon is akin to passing notes in class...wherever we are, we need to make up our minds to be engaged. I think we all know what it is like to be in a face to face conversation and be hearing, but not listening. Technology is certainly a facilitator to even more distraction.

Inked said...

That is not good. Jesus wasn't joking around when he said he who eats or drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks damnation to himself. If I'm not in the right mindset, I don't eat or drink communion.