Woken up again by 5 a.m. demons, it was the iPhone on my bedside table I reached for and not to God in prayer.
For what do now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleeps mean to someone who can sift through twilight tweets and instagrammed images of star-filled skies?
An ever-present God has been replaced by an over-stimulating pocket-sized piece of technology. Prayers? Please. There’s an app for that.
Coming late to the iPhone game, mine is still a bright and shiny toy. My protected progeny. 8 GB of answers. An operating system crafted to fulfill my every need. To distract even when bad dreams come calling.
But where is God in all of this? Is there an iPray version 5 in overseas production to rival Apple’s latest brainchild?
There’s plenty of talk about how my generation has forgotten how to talk to one another. But are we also forgetting how to talk to God?
In a world of wifi hotspots, where is the time to think about questions of faith that used to matter?
I’ve spent hours this week with the words of Thomas Aquinas. But beyond grappling with grace and charity and yes, even free-will, I was left exasperated by the idea that any one man would spend so much time arguing with the voices in his head. Because the minute the type of thoughts that inspire such treatises enter my own mind, I use my God-given free-will (within the scope of God’s plan of course, Tom) to grab my iPhone and enter the oblivion of status updates and new emails.
I’m losing the ability to spend significant time suffering in the depth of my own thoughts.
But we’ve all heard the solution. Just unplug! Escape from the Internet for a little while. Take a low signal as a sign to relax. Dead battery? Lively discussion!
All perfectly valid arguments in the face of a culture that’s irreversibly removed from sabbaths spent in quiet meditation.
But none of that promises a return to my pre-cell phone self.
Incredible, isn’t it? Five ounces of digitized memory able to bring me to my knees at even the slightest sign of a scratch or crack. Able to take my mind off a world of real bruises and heartache.
But, the Good news? The gospel iPreach is that I catch myself in the act. I fight the urge to seek texts during sacraments. I leave it in the corner as I take time to regroup.
And the next time an iPhone fumble brings me to my knees? Well, I’ll say a little prayer while I’m down there.