On Saturday, Mrs Mabbsonsea and I took our daughter and her friends ten-pin bowling. Three things made me sad (apart from Mrs M getting a higher score than me):
– There was a DJ and the music was so loud that you had to shout.
– The girls were on their mobile phones all the time – talking, texting, gaming or watching a video (with earplugs in, of course).
– As I cycled back (no room for me in the car), dodging the people on their phones or iPods, and being blasted by the piped music as I went past the pier, I thought – ‘The modern world is rubbish’.
Partly, I’m just having a middle-aged moan about piped music. But my greater sadness was the way something that used to be a fun social occasion was turned into an individual activity because those taking part were more interested in people who weren’t there than the people who were. The girls didn’t engage much with each other’s bowling or talk much with each other. They were in their own little worlds, connected through their phones – which disconnected them with the real world that was right there.
I think I am a Luddite. I don’t like many aspects of the way the world is shaping up. I find it offensive when I am with someone and they answer their mobile or read a text. I don’t like the idea of being contactable at any time or place, and I don’t like feeling such a strong attraction to check incoming emails or texts and the way being contacted makes me feel important.
I guess it is easier to be in touch with people you can’t see, especially in short bursts, rather than engage in the longer haul with people who are actually there. But I wonder if our souls can cope with being so thinly spread. Would we be better off trying to go deep rather than broad – to be more fully present in the present – right here, right now? It’s the person in front of me who can help me grow and help me encounter Jesus – especially when she is beating me at bowling.