Becoming Tech-Wise by Michael Carlson

Becoming Tech-Wise by Michael Carlson
“Dad, I hate your phone. I think you love your phone more than you love me.”

Those words will forever be seared onto my soul. I knew that my phone was a problem. My wife and kids would often remind me of my addiction. But since some (though not all) of the stuff that captivated my eyes on that glowing rectangle was work-related, I justified it. It’s incredible how easily the human heart, my heart, can justify sin (if neglecting my family isn’t a sin, I don’t know what is).  

But when my son said those words one year ago, it triggered something within me. The vague awareness that I had a problem sank deep into my heart and became a conviction. I knew something needed to change. I also knew that, apart from the Spirit, I lacked the wisdom and the courage to make it happen. I had tried before, without success.  

Whether or not you can relate to my story, like a fish in water, we all live in a digital age. Without a doubt, technology has brought profound blessings to life in our society, including the ability to travel long distances safely, communicate with loved ones conveniently (yay FaceTime!), and provide sophisticated medical care for ailments that in previous generations were considered death sentences. The list is endless. You couldn’t pay me enough to trade my modern life, with all its technological conveniences, for a life in a pre-novocaine world.  

But for all its blessings, living in our technologically advanced, digital age comes at a cost. 

1. The proliferation of online pornography (which is a breeding ground for shame, isolation, and relational ruin)
2. The increasingly clear link between social media usage and mental illness (especially among young people)
3. The countless challenges of raising kids in today’s world (how much is too much screen time?) 
4. ___________________ (what would you put here?) 

As followers of Jesus, how do we navigate life in this modern, digital age? How do we relate to technology with wisdom (knowing the right thing even when it’s complicated) and courage (doing the right thing even when it’s difficult)? How do we put our devices in their proper place, so that they serve us, and we don’t end up serving them? How do we become people of love, joy, and peace in a society increasingly designed to nurture consumerism, addiction, and isolation?  

If like me, you think these are important questions, then you’ll be excited to learn that we’re launching a new discipleship initiative called: “Becoming Tech-Wise: Navigating Life Together in our Digital Age”. In this initiative, we will host two events, engage in a Sunday morning teaching series on wisdom from the book of Proverbs, have discussions in our Community Groups, offer resources on tech-wise living, and more. Oh, and there’ll be t-shirts

In the meantime, save the date for Friday, March 10 (a night with Amy Crouch, author of My Tech-Wise Life) and Friday, April 28 (panel discussion). Registration details coming soon. 

For personal and pastoral reasons, I’m excited about this conversation. I know I’m not the only one seeking wisdom on this. So as we begin to explore what it means to be tech-wise, here’s a word of encouragement and a suggested prayer. 

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1v5). 

Lord, what wisdom and courage do I need when it comes to my relationship with media and technology?  

Grace & Peace,
Michael Carlson