Smartphone Vision

Posted on Feb 13, 2023 by Mark Muehl - Christian Leadership - Christian Living

Last week, LeBron James became the all-time scoring leader in the NBA. James is a very accomplished athlete and the status of scoring leader is as much a statement of how well he has tended to his health and avoiding any serious injuries as it is to his basketball shooting.

However, the point of this post is not about LeBron. This post is about the 19,000 people who witnessed basketball history there in Los Angeles. As you look at the image below of LeBron’s fadeaway record breaker, you may notice the hundreds of fans seen behind the baseline are watching...watching this event through their smartphones. While they had basketball fans all around, celebrities in attendance and an atmosphere that was anticipating the moment, ticket holders watched the event through the eyes of their phones.

Odd isn’t it? The overwhelming need to have a video record of the event outweighs the atmosphere, the context, the excitement of the game and even one’s own personal account of what happened. There’s probably plenty to speak to from an anthropological point of view. Our culture is viewing the world through their phones. Some of what we view is real; some of it is contrived. Gathered information from the smartphone may be accurate, somewhat accurate or completely inaccurate.

Smartphones have convinced us that we might miss something if we are disconnected. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is real for many. However, FOMO is exactly that - fear - it’s not real. The need to avoid missing something on social media distracts and obstructs from the true reality all around....not just what is seen through a phone.

Research on smartphone usage has been connected with depression, obesity and overall focus. Assuming the research is true, smartphones are rather deceptive. Instead of developing community, we become more concerned about ourselves. Instead of being active, we see pictures of other people being active. Instead of the smartphone as a device for productivity, we waste time sweeping through pictures and posts. We get caught up in watching, not participating. We compare ourselves to others instead of getting things done.

Spirituality of today looks like our interaction with our smartphone. How am I feeling? How am I being influenced? How am I being changed? How can I be better? How can I....? Lots of “I’s” all in the name of faith and life.

What we teach in our schools is starkly different from this kind of religion. Our focus is on God and neighbor...not self. Love God and love your neighbor are the summaries of the 10 Commandments. Christian vocation is about service and mercy. But mostly, the focus of Christian life is Jesus.

“I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:7).

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

What does this look like? Well, it’s not going to be found through a smartphone. Pray. Worship. Read about Him. Read about this world through the real smartphone of the Bible. There we find answers to life that are not contrived or inaccurate. There we find truth, wisdom and peace.

Too often, a quick look at social media turns into a lost hour of life. Instead, consider opening up the Bible and getting lost in an hour of study. Check out Daniel and watch him stand firm in faith. Get lost in a Gospel and walk through Jesus’ life. Found in that reading will be the truth of God’s promises - Jesus is the truth, Jesus is life, and Jesus is our rest.