Posted tagged ‘addicted’

The Wisdom of Moderation

January 9, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                              January 9, 2018

                                         

Two of Apple’s largest stockholders are asking the company to help curb the digital addiction of children and youth. A ripple effect of the iPhone’s popularity, as well as SnapChat, texting, Facebook, and other forms of social media, has been the increasing amount of time the younger generation is “hooked” on their digital devices.

At the middle school that I substitute teach and coach at digital devices are part of the educational tool shed. Students are told to get online on their devices and sign in at Google Classroom for the reading assignment or questions to answer as they read. Research gets done at their desk on their iPhone.

Last spring, however, I experienced the other side of the digital addiction age. Several eighth graders focused on their iPhones when they were to be reading a textbook assignment. They attempted to keep their devices hidden from sight, but I wasn’t born yesterday. I recognize that sneaky look from my days of trying to hide cheat sheets in high school Spanish class.

Social media and iPhones are just the latest of a long, long line of products and vices that grow to the point of being obsessions and addictions. The average American teenager receives his/her first iPhone at the age of 10 and spends four and a half hours a day using it, not counting texts and phone calls. Recent research is connecting the risk of teen suicide with the amount of time teens spend using their digital devices. Adolescents who spend several hours a day using their digital devices tend to feel more isolated and depressed. Teens that spend less than two hours a day on their devices tend to be happier.

We should not be surprised at the negative implications of over-consumption. It fits with the scheme of things. A healthy life- physical, spiritual, emotional, mental- has balance to it. An unhealthy life is often out of balance in some way or several ways.

Several years ago I discovered Chinese buffets. I’d go there for lunch and gorge myself. The afternoon was spent feeling lousy, and I added several pounds to my body weight. I finally wised up and swore them off. I now have not been to a Chinese buffet in about ten years and, I don’t want to say it is the only reason but, my cholesterol has dropped.

There’s a great proverbs of Solomon’s that says this, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” (Proverbs 25:28)

When we become obsessed we become vulnerable. We see in our culture today that obsessions come in different forms and in various venues. There’s greed, drunkenness, gluttony, sexual addiction, workaholic-ism, laziness, and on and on. Any obsession leads to a “broken wall’ where some kind of enemy or evil can enter in.

Pretty much anything in our life is to be practiced, consumed, or done in moderation. There is wisdom in moderation, and there is usually trouble in excessiveness.

It will be interesting to see how Apple and social media companies respond to the request about digital addiction. Apple may simply see it as a way to develop a new product designed for adolescents. In essence, it could be a new way to make money for them. The real question is what will the social media companies do that rely on consumption, exposure, and screen time to make their profits?

Companies, also, more often than not, have no self-control!

Coffee Follower

April 29, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                April 29, 2013

 

It started when I was in seminary. One semester I made the foolish decision to sign up for Hebrew. I knew how to say “Shalom” and “Kosher” already, but thought I would be more spiritual if I could say a complete sentence in the Hebrew language. Hebrew agreed with me about as much as a late night taco pack from Jack-In-The-Box. In the midst of trying to figure out how the weird looking letters I started going out to a 24 hour restaurant near campus with two of my classmates, Steve Wamberg and Steve Shafer. We studied our Hebrew flash cards and drank coffee.

The coffee stayed with me, but the Hebrew didn’t.

The coffee began slowly…cream, sugar, and a little coffee with it. I was an Folgers follower, which is kind of like being a Chicago Cub’s fan…the flavorful moments are few and far between, but the person doesn’t know any better. Folgers was it!

I followed Folgers for a number of years, accumulating coffee mugs to wrap around the product. Once in a while there would be a cup of Maxwell House thrown in, but not often.

Then I discovered Nescafe Instant coffee, and my commitment to Folgers was compromised.  There was something about putting those glimmering coffee crystals into my mug and seeing them disappear, unlike the unsightly coffee grounds, as the hot water filled the cup. Nescafe was the bomb!

But bombs don’t last! My caffeinated spirit soon was enticed by Gevalia, which offered a free coffeemaker when you became a new customer. I was drawn in like a Black Friday slobbering shopaholic waiting outside of Best Buy for a half-price blu ray player.

Gevalia may have forced me to grow as a coffee follower more than anything else, because a new shipment was coming to my office every two months. If I didn’t drink it fast enough I was going to have to build a coffee warehouse for my excess. Sometimes commitment comes because we’re forced to go to a deeper level of consumption.

Drinking coffee became a natural part of me, a part of my routine. Saturday nights as I put the finishing touches on the Sunday sermon, I would go through the McDonald’s drive-thru and get two large coffees…two creams and two sugars in each. If McDonald’s would have had a power outage I’m sure the Sundaty sermon would have been adversely effected. It was a sermon prep superstition- two large coffees from McDonald’s. Like the opening prayer in worship, McDonald’s coffee was required for the routine.

After a few years we moved to Colorado Springs and I was introduced to an actual coffeehouse called Pike’s Perk. I started paying close to two bucks for a large coffee, but every tenth cup was free! What a deal! When I didn’t think I could drink any more coffee I discovered that I had another coffee gear that I could crank my fluid intake to. The quicker I consumed the daily featured medium roast the faster I could get to my earthly reward of a freebie! Pike’s Perk took me to a new level of different types of coffee. My coffee education deepened. I learned about Kona and Blue Mountain. I couldn’t believe that I had let myself settle for Folgers all those years. I was now devout, experienced, someone who could tell the difference between bad coffee and heavenly brew.

But then I discovered Starbucks! To begin with it seemed that Starbucks was too bitter, too strong. I reacted against it, like an environmentalist protesting off-shore drilling. Then someone gave me a Starbucks gift card. Like a free ticket to a Dave Matthews Band concert, it had to be used. Saturday night McDonald’s became a distant memory, like a percolator.

I started using my GPS to find Starbucks in unfamiliar cities I happened to be passing through. Once I jumped over a fence to get to a Starbucks in Prince George, British Columbia.

I look at my journey from late night pretender to consuming follower. I’m reading Onward by Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, about how the coffee giant fought for its life without losing its soul. I’m sure it will bring some new kind of sustenance to my java journey. Perhaps I’ll be able to get back to the root of the different blends.

Who knows what the next step of my pilgrimage will be! I look at all the old mugs in my office that remind me of my past.

It’s interesting how coffee has infiltrated all of my life. It has enabled me to write sermons, keep me awake in the midst of dull conversations, given me something to hold on to as I drive to an appointment in Denver. What would I do without coffee?

STOP! Now I want you to ponder what I have just written, but replace coffee with Jesus. I am a Jesus follower, who happens to like coffee. I confess that I did jump over a fence in Prince George, but please know that I would climb a mountain for Jesus.

Sometimes there are things that we allow to take priority in my life. Interests become obsessions. Likes become imbalanced behavior. A liquid substance becomes a requirement.

I strive after a Jesus who is in love with me. Hard to believe, I know! Coffee stains and all, he still allows me to be identified as a follower.