Put that Cell Phone Down!

tim_webDear Friends,

The Rogue24 restaurant of Washington, D.C. is just one restaurant that has had enough of cell phones. There is a no-tolerance ban on cell phones. They cite several reasons for the ban: the cell phone ringer volume isn’t controlled, the phone conversation disturbs other customers, and smart phone cameras generally have flash and that disturbs other customers when pictures are taken. The chef explains the policy this way:

“Let’s say you’re out on a date, but you sit there tweeting. What are you doing to your companion? You’re alienating them. You’re in an environment that’s trying to create an ambience that you can’t get anywhere else. If you go to the theater, they ask you to not use flash photography, because it distracts. It’s the same thing here. We’re in the middle of the dining room, so the flashing distracts us as well.

“It’s really about being polite to your fellow guests and your dining companions. If everyone brings out their phones, it detracts from the experience. We’re not telling you not to tweet; we have areas to do that. You can do it in the salon or the bathroom. We just don’t want cell phones in the dining room.”

What do you think? Can you make it through a day without checking your cell phone? Can you live without it for a morning? Can you manage to avoid checking it for an hour? Can you make it through a meal without checking your cell phone? Can you be truly present where you are and with whom you are?

As I ponder this question, I have to confess that it is very difficult for me to avoid checking my cell phone. I find that I am tied to it and it almost calls my name until I take a look at it to see if I have texts or emails or voicemails or Facebook messages or a tweet. I sit in a meeting and just have to take a look. I accidentally left my cell phone in another building when I was at a retreat center this past week for our Board of Ordained Ministry meetings. I knew it would be safe and would likely be exactly where I left it. However, I was aware of a vague sense of separation anxiety because it wasn’t there with me.

After Jesus had washed the feet of the disciples at the last meal they shared together, Jesus spoke these words to them: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

This is just one of the many times that Jesus emphasized that the relationship with others is the most important thing — and whatever stands in the way or distracts us away from loving others needs to be set aside. We’ll explore this on Sunday in our sanctuary services.

In the meantime, think about this new commandment Jesus gave to his followers, and all who would be his followers, down to the present. In your life, are you striving to love as Jesus loved? What are the distractions or obstacles to your love?

I look forward to seeing you Sunday!

Grace and Peace,

Tim Signature - Tim only

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