Field Guide Home Study
Creative Living in a Consumer World
“When I Look Up”
Have you ever gone to a restaurant, looked over at another table, and saw the occupants of that table each on their phones? It could beg the question: why go out for a family dinner anyway if we aren’t going to pay attention to one another? Maybe we don’t know the whole story there and it would not be fair to assume what it is, but it is good to think and talk about. In today’s society, the blessings of technological connectedness are many as they allow us to communicate more frequently and in larger quantities than ever before. In many ways, technology enables our staff at Belmont to keep us all connected! Even this Field Guide would be much more difficult to produce if we did not have the blessing of blogging!
Still yet, too much of anything can produce problems. Our phones can become our lords as we find ourselves more curious about or stressed over what is on them than the relationship(s) in front of us. Even on our days of sabbath, we may break sabbath to check our work email. This is acceptable given the expectations of the culture of high productivity that many of us operate within. But what are we missing when we are married to our phones? What emotions of pain or elation in our spouse or best friend or child do we miss when we quickly interact and then get back to our phones? What moments do we miss while we get away to take a call? Do our phones replace the time we could be spending in silence or prayer? It is good to think about these things and step back to observe our rhythms of technological use as we try to live creatively in this consumerist world.
Scripture Readings: Luke 19:1-6
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through town. A man there named Zacchaeus, a ruler among tax collectors, was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but, being a short man, he couldn’t because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to that spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay in your home today.” So Zacchaeus came down at once, happy to welcome Jesus.
Luke 21:1-2: Looking up, Jesus saw rich people throwing their gifts into the collection box for the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow throw in two small copper coins worth a penny.
Questions to Consider:
+What does a rhythm of balance regarding technology look like in your life? How is technology a blessing to you? How is it a hinderance?
+What boundaries do you have around leaving work at work? What boundaries do you need to create or edit?
+Center this thought in prayer, and post it on the fridge, phone or mirror:*
We worship the God who inhabits our world and indwells our lives.
We need not look up to find God, we need only to look around: within ourselves, beyond ourselves, into the eyes of another.
We need not listen for a distant thunder to find God, we need only listen to the music of life, the words of children, the questions of the curious, the rhythm of a heartbeat.
We worship the God who inhabits our world and who indwells our lives.
~ posted on the Presbyterian Church USA website. https://www.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/peacemaking/pdf/mlk-resources.pdf
+Consider a “technology fast” wherein turn off the gadgets for a designated amount of time. Maybe you can only afford to do this for 30 minutes or maybe you have a day planned with your friends and family and you can commit to turning off your gadgets for that length of time. Whatever the length of time, reflect that evening on your experience. Did it stress you out to not be near your phone, or was it refreshing, or both?
+ Continue this week to make a space for solitude, away from your email and phone. Sit in silence and center on a word about God. For example, center your thoughts and prayer around the word “faithful” or another word that is meaningful to you- see what comes up when you do this.
Prayer for the Week:
God, we admit that there are times when we act wrongly, concentrating on the ‘bottom line’ and our survival, building up our own resources, and exercising inappropriate power.
Forgive us of putting our own comfort first, when the church becomes the center of our world and we fail to see beyond its walls.
Forgive us, O God, if our eyes have been so fixed on priorities of our own making, that we have failed to look for Jesus in the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, those in prison and those awaiting the death penalty.
Forgive us, O God, of all the times we fail to touch people’s lives with acts of loving and caring, justice and mercy. Make our way, O God. We want to follow You.
*Adapted from a prayer written by Moira Laidlaw, posted on her Liturgies Online website.