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Lessons We Must Now Learn  

As technology has rocketed us into the future, it has simultaneously, if not unintentionally spiraled us into a much lower orbit in our comprehension of basic human interaction.  The fact that we CAN   communicate with a code-like instant message...means that we now feel compelled to —as a baseline standard.  The fact that it’s easier to use abbreviations, abrupt expressions and short phrases means we do—to the point that an emerging generation understands this to be normative.  What was once the exception has become the rule.

Complete sentences...basic grammar structure...and the most fundamental of language issues have been overtaken by blurts and tweets.  So increasing numbers of us stand in the need of remedial writing instruction.

You say, “Big deal.  All that matters is that people connect with each other.  Who cares about the language?”   Maybe that's true.  And maybe it isn't.

Either way, poor grammar is not the only language we've dumbed down.  There's the language of human posture...of politeness and respect.

With our smart phones constantly beeping, we are constantly checking...constantly interrupting existing  conversations.   And believe me when I say I struggle with this just like you do.   Yet every single glance away from another human face says, “I will happily jettison the connection you and I now share for whoever wants to make my phone light up.”  In other words, “Anything and anyone is more important than you and whatever you and I are now talking about.”  Of course, we would never actually verbalize those thoughts, but what else do our actions convey?

So I ask, shouldn't followers of Jesus be set apart?  Shouldn't the knowledge that the friend we are sitting across from is made in the image of God mean we treat our phones—and our friends--differently than the rest of the world?  I say it should. A text is not a person.  Facebook is not a face. 

To the extent we “get that” you and I will be able to counter the ironic reality of emotional disconnect in a technologically connected world.  The face in front of you ought always to trump the phone beside you.    

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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