Tag Archives: Smartphones

An Addiction Or Tool? Would Cigarettes Be Safer?

I didn’t think of the cigarette part until I started writing the title, but it’s an honest question worth exploring.

Is there one addiction more dangerous than another? Of course. Honestly, cigarettes would kill me sooner than cancer from my phone.

The point that I want to make this morning is that I think I might be addicted to my cell phone. And if I am, then admitting it to the world is a good way to overcome it.

Hello, my name is Anthony. I’m an iPhonaholic. I think.

Official Terms and Stats

OK, so let’s look at what the professionals have to say. When I did a quick google search of “what do you call someone addicted to looking at their phone?”, I discovered that much of the research and writing that popped up was several years old. Even the most recent professional articles referenced research that was done as far back as 2008.

The official term, nomophobia, was derived from combining “no mo-bile” with phobia (irrational fear). Simply defined, nomophobia is “an extreme fear of not having your phone or not being able to use it.”

Since this is not an official research paper, and I don’t really want to get into the work of sourcing everything I read, just google what I did and you can find it all. But when it comes to the numbers, they are pretty disturbing.

  • In the original 2008 UK study that coined the term nomophobia, 57% of men and 47% of women suffered mobile phone anxiety.
  • In another study of college students (2013), 64% were at risk of developing nomophobia, while 77% checked their phones at least 35 times per day.
  • A 2010 study showed that 61% of adults check their phones first thing in the morning.
  • In 2014 it was observed that with college students there was a correlation between low GPA’s and frequent cell phone usage.

If you are reading this and wondering, “Do I have nomophobia?”, then social psychologists at Iowa State University have put together a 20-item questionnaire meant to help you self-diagnose. Now, this, too, was from several years ago, so I don’t know if anything has changed. But if you’re like me, we’ve got problems.

Not So Fast

But on the other hand, back in 2015 Brian Fung, a reporter with the Washington Post, questioned the legitimacy of equating nomophobia with ” real, clinical addictions.” Fung argues that true addictions and disabling phobias generally affect only 10 to 12 percent of the population, so, cellphone “addiction” might not be as bad as described.

And let’s think about this… Before there were cell phones, how did we stay in contact? We had pay phones, didn’t we? And before we had Waze or Google Maps, how did we find our directions to destinations? We either used maps or wrote down directions. Yet, where are the pay phones these days? Have you tried to buy a map, lately?

Before there were cell phones, business was conducted over land lines, desktop computers, in stores, and on paper. Nowadays, as you know, business, shopping, and even legal documents have  been adapted to mobile devices. And what’s more, a lot of our daily activities now require we have a cell phone, or the immediacy of the transaction demands it.

As one researcher rightfully noted, the increased usage of cell phones may not be the result of increasing addiction as much as it is the increased demand put on individuals by the culture and evolving economy.

But We Can Do Better

So, back to the original assertion that I have an addiction… Do I? Probably not, at least not in a clinical sense.

Am I going to give up my iPhone? No. Do I go to bed with it and wake up with it? Yes, because it has replaced my clock and my alarm and the “white noise” app helps me sleep.

But do I look at it too much? Are my daily “pick ups” excessive? Am I comforted by feeling of the phone in my left hand? Do I reach for my phone at the first sense of boredom? Do I panic if I leave home without it? Do I take it with me to the shower? Is it the first thing I look at when I open my eyes in the morning and the last thing I look at before i go to sleep?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. and Yes.

SO…

Below are MY stats from this morning and last week. Are you willing to share yours?

This Monday morning, with Sunday’s stat’s setting the average.

Last week’s average per day, along with a breakdown of what I viewed.

The average number of pickups per day – 74.

Let’s come back to this next Monday and see what changes can be made. I will not quit using my phone, but I am going to try to lower the screen time stats and change what is most commonly viewed.

Would you like to post something like this and join me? 

13 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Culture Wars, fitness

Crossing the Line? Or, a Lesson In Legalism?

The Picture

Have you seen all the funny pictures people are creating with “face-swapping” apps on their smart phones? I’ve seen pics of dad’s with their babies, people with their pets, and even one with a person swapping her face with the nobs on her kitchen cabinets!

NOTE: If you haven’t yet seen a face-swapping picture, then you’re living a minute or two behind the times. Few people with smartphones (the owners of which make up the majority of the civilized world) have not seen a face-swapping picture.

Face-swapping with my daughter :-)

Face-swapping with my daughter 🙂

Therefore, when my daughter, Katie, wanted to try our her face-swapping app on her new Motorola smartphone, I thought it would be fun. And, I was correct! The result was hilarious!

Or, at least that’s what I thought.

The Critics Speak

Katie posted the picture she took of us to Snapchat. She also forwarded it to several friends and relatives. I, on the other hand, saved the picture on my cellphone and posted it to Facebook. I wanted to share a little humor.

One of the things that made this picture funny was how perfectly it swapped the faces – it almost looks natural. But the other thing that made it funny for me was the sad irony of if all – the current bathroom battles. My original, off-the-cuff tongue-in-cheek comment was that we were “either getting ready for the new bathroom laws, or my daughter had grown a beard in college.”

Evidently, my sense of humor and the picture (either one, or the other, or both) was a little too much for some. The critical comments began.

Facebook friend: “Not very becoming of a pastor.”

So, I responded.

Me: You do realize that is a face-swapping app on my daughter’s phone, don’t you? It swapped our faces; I wasn’t dressed like a woman for real. That’s why it’s funny.

And the friend replied.

Facebook friend: “As men of God, I believe there’s certain line we are not to cross. What if someone see this and decide to be in courage to take it a step further. We should shun the very appearance of evil. And yes I do know”

That’s when I decided to respond with a blog post.

Lines

Where are the lines a pastor should not cross? Who has drawn them? Who determines where they should be drawn, how far they should extend, and how bold the marking?

For most of my life I lived in fear of what others thought about my spirituality. My life was burdened by others who were drawing the lines for me. They were the ones I feared would see me if I went to a movie or a restaurant that sold alcohol. They were the ones who would call me “liberal” if I didn’t do exactly as they prescribed. And because of others, I drew lines for others, too.

I was a full-blown legalist afraid of what other legalists thought. And, I’m still recovering.

But where are the lines? Are there no universal lines which none should cross, especially pastors? Of course! There are the lines of lust, adultery, envy, and bitterness. There are the lines that separate us from unethical financial dealings; misuse of power; and most importantly, doctrinal error. But when it comes to personal choices, self-management, and my family – in my particular context – it is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict me (draw lines), not my fellow brother or sister in Christ.

Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. – Romans 14:4

But What of the Weaker?

But as soon as I quote Romans 14:4, there are going to be those who quickly point out several other verses in the same chapter.

  • Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in [his] brother’s way. – Romans 14:13
  • But if thy brother be grieved with [thy] meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. – Romans 14:15
  • Let not then your good be evil spoken of: – Romans 14:16
  • Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. – Romans 14:19

The context of Romans 14 is that of one taking his liberty too far, to the point of doing more harm than good. Because of grace, it really didn’t matter whether a believer celebrated a certain day or ate meat offered to a non-existent false god. However, it did matter if one did these things in the presence of someone struggling with theses issues, someone of little faith.

Paul said that he would rather us never eat meat again, to throw away all our liberties, if by enjoying our freedom it caused another one to sin (14:21). He said: “You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God. Blessed are those who don’t feel guilty for doing something they have decided is right” (Romans 14:22 NLT).

That being said, I believe there is great liberty in Grace, but many times I refrain from exercising my freedoms in order to avoid “offending” one of weaker faith. Why? Because if that person, not fully convinced that what I was doing was acceptable, decided to go against his own convictions and imitate me (the one he might possibly look up to and admire), then I’d be causing that person to sin (14:23).

But You Can’t Please Everybody!

Now, with all of the above in mind, we must also consider something else – you can’t please everybody! Don’t even try!

If I lived every moment in fear of those who might find fault in every little thing I do, I’d go crazy! As a matter of fact, that kind of life will KILL you – it killed my father!

Look, there are people who won’t attend our church because on Sunday mornings I still wear a tie when I preach, while others get offended when I don’t wear a tie on Sunday and Wednesday evenings. Some people think I’m too liberal because I will go to a movie, eat at a restaurant that sells beer, and play darts. Yet, others think I’m too much of a “fundamentalist” because I dislike high school proms and condemn sin from the pulpit.

If all I did was try to please people, I’d never succeed.

The One I want to please is my Heavenly Father. As I seek to please Him and bring glory and honor to His name, I take note of the things I say and do, because I want my life to be a reflection of my Father’s heart. The last thing I want to do is offend anyone, especially God.

But folks, you’ve seriously got to take into consideration one more thing…CONTEXT.

My Context

Food, drink, clothing, style of music, dancing, etc., … in all of these areas CONTEXT will make or break you. Regarding the picture of my daughter and me, the context is thus…

  • technology is changing faster than we can keep track
  • Smartphones are the #1 tools of communication in the world
  • Most people with smartphones have seen face-swapping apps
  • Fathers do crazy things with their daughters – if they are good fathers and not deadbeat dads
  • I try to be a good father, not a deadbeat lowlife who never has fun with his children, and most people who know me know that.
  • I have a sense of humor, which is one reason all elementary children want ME to be their school bus driver
  • I have thousands of followers and subscribers to three blogs and social media, not to mention church members, family, and friends who know I can be very serious at times, goofy at other times
  • Over the last several years I’ve written multiple-hundreds of thousands of words, published audio and video, and plastered Facebook and Twitter with my thoughts and commentary.

If all it would take is one picture, one made in fun by someone who is well-known as a conservative, “right-wing” evangelical Southern Baptist pastor, to push somebody into acting out their transgender/transexual desires, then that person was too far gone to begin with; he/she/undecided would have flipped the switch with or without my stupid picture.

Final Point Long In Coming

Friends (including the one who left the above comment), give me a break. Lighten up a little. This world is most certainly going to hell in a handbasket, and the witch carrying Toto has gone from a bicycle to a crotch rocket (motorcycle). If we can’t find a moment or two to laugh at the insanity of it all we’ll all dehydrate from the tears of sorrow.

So, I’m sorry if the above picture offended you, but I’m not taking it back. My family is more important to me than the 0.00005% of individuals who might get their panties in a wad because they saw me look un-pastoral in a stupid picture with my little girl.

I’m choosing to live in grace; life’s too short to be legalistic.

13 Comments

Filed under legalism, Parenting

Facebook Depresses Me

Depression

How can one not get depressed in this day and age? For me to claim that I never get depressed would not only be a lie, but an absurdity few would believe. For crying out loud – with varying degrees of severity – I’m only human!

I’ve heard some tell me, “But brother, you’re a minister, a pastor! Real Christians never get depressed.” I usually respond with, “Have you never heard of Jonah? Elijah? Spurgeon?” Even the greatest men of God have fallen into times of deep despair, so what makes me immune?

Depression can come on at times when we least expect it, draining all joy and optimism from even the most hopeful. However, if we can distinguish what sends us into downward spirals, those initiators of depression, it would be much easier to stay upbeat and positive.

I think I have found one of those initiators, and it’s called Facebook.

Warning!

photo (66)I think that Facebook should come with a “warning” label. Seriously! It can be dangerous! It can be utterly depressing!

Think about it, there’s really very little by way of good news on Facebook. Sure, there are the regular kitten pics and funny memes, the morning devotionals, and the occasional video of someone looking like a fool, but where’s the hope? Where’s the good news?

What I typically find on Facebook is bad news, threats of violence, predictions of doom, loads of racism and bigotry (from all sides), political tension, and food pictures. Even what might be good news to some ends up becoming a source of envy for everyone else (even me). For example:

  • “Look at my new car! I got a great deal because my perfect credit score!”
  • “Here we are at our child’s graduation from Harvard Law School.”
  • “Praise God! We had 5,000 at church this morning, 495 of whom made professions for Christ! 15 surrendered to the ministry!”
  • “Having a wonderful time in Hawaii! Looking forward to our next 10 mission trips around the world! Come join us, if you can!”

Honestly, I think there should be a big, fat warning label on Facebook, at least for my sake. Nevertheless, I may have learned my lesson.

Look Elsewhere

Just the other day as I was trying to figure out what it was that was making me feel so depressed, that bummed out kind of feeling I couldn’t shake, I picked up my cell phone and, out of habit, clicked the Facebook icon. I still remember the very words I whispered to myself as I started to scroll down through the updated stories…

“It sure would make me happy if I could just find some good news.”

Almost immediately it was like the Voice that woke little Samuel from his sleep boomed into my conscience…

“Maybe you should quit searching for good news to make you happy and find your happiness in THE Good News.”

That was it! How can I remain hopeful, joyful, happy, and upbeat when nearly everything I see on Facebook is bad news? There’s reports of terrorism, possible financial collapse, children missing, rampant immorality, religious persecution, Christians acting like heathen, and even stuff to make me envious…why think on these things???

Seriously, a great deal of the depression with which many of us battle could simply be the result of looking for hope where there is no hope. Will my political party win? Will there be something funny to make me smile? Will someone somewhere finally make the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Westboro Baptists shut the heck up?

What does it matter? Who cares?!! Has God lost control? Has his arm become too short, his hand too weak? Has a single nation risen or fallen outside His sovereign will? NO!!! 

No App Needed

The GOOD NEWS is that God is still on the throne; I am His child and He loves me; He loves the world so much that it doesn’t matter what they’ve done, He’s still ready and willing to forgive; no law of the land can change the law of God; and one day all things will be made right.

So, the next time you find yourself feeling a little depressed, put away your phone and do a little social networking with the Lord…there’s no app for that.

 

*NOTE: Andrew Zuckerman did not approve the use of the Facebook logo for this post. However, if I ever start making any money from this blog I will take the image down. Until then the warning stays. Consider it free advertising, Mr. Zukerman.

 

3 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Culture Wars, Depression

Promoting i4Daily

i4dailyMost of you, especially if you are new subscribers, probably aren’t aware of my photo blog, i4Daily. I’d love for you to check it out sometime.

Here’s the Story…

The iPhone has been a wonderful tool. I have used it for school, work, study (I can access my whole LOGOS library online), video, and photos. It had proved nearly indispensable to my blogging. Therefore, because I take pictures that usually never end up in this blog, I decided to create another one to showcase some daily pics.

Now, rarely do I just post a picture without first using an editing app. The pictures taken on the iPhone 4s are good, but it usually can be tweaked. So, for the most part I use BeFunky for editing.

Therefore, if you have a moment, browse my photos. I have no theme, or anything like that, but some are pretty dadgum good if you ask me. But of course, I’m prejudiced.

Click HERE to visit i4Daily. You can go to the “archive” tab at the top and browse through all the photos from the past. Each has it’s own little story, too.

2 Comments

Filed under General Observations, places