I'm all for having alcoholics and drug addicts coming to church on Sunday, anytime for that matter. And I'll do my best to make sure they feel comfortable with the rest of us "sinners." After all, there's no more powerful assistance for kicking an addictive habit than divine help.
But last Sunday morning, I was confronted by another form of addiction. In the middle of the church service, a young couple strolled up the isle in jeans, cowboy boots and belt buckles to boot, then plopped down in an upfront pew. From the looks of 'em, they'd just climbed off horses after a long, hard ride.
Hey, it's possible! It's a country church, and horses can be parked next to the motorcycles.
My first reaction: Good! They're coming to the right place. Something's bound to rub off.
But whoa the horses!
Barely settled in their seats, out popped their smartphones. First guess was that they wanted to turn off the ringers. Maybe?
Soon, both were scrolling through text messages or Tweets or whatever – and thumbing in replies.
Ah, but one shouldn't be too judgmental. Maybe, just maybe, they were texting their responses to each other about the pastor's message. After all, he was hitting on some heavy stuff. Or maybe they were chatting about farmer stuff.
Ah, again – probably not. Were they addicted, or did they just have a bad habit?
Addiction, according to wise old Wikipedi (Webster's great grandson), is the continued repetition or neurological impairment of a behavior and denial thereof despite adverse consequences. The usual culprits are alcohol and and drug abuse, plus addiction to exercise, food, sex, gambling and, yes, computers.
Whatever the case, they needed to detox – unless, of course, they were riding horses to church. After all, horses would know how to return them home despite their texting and checking emails. And texting isn't illegal for horse riders – yet.
You know you're hooked when . . .
Here are a few clues you need help to detox – to wrest control of your mind away from smartphoneitis:
As soon as you wake up in the morning, you check your phone for messages – before heading to the bathroom.
Distracted by your apps, you look up to discover you've traveled the whole length of the field.
Out dining with your family, you wrench your eyes away from the phone's glowing screen to see other uncommunicative digital zombies sitting at your table.
Lost in the circuits of your iPhone, you lose your kids somewhere in the park.
Unable to check your smartphone for five minutes while donating blood to the blood bank, you start sweating.
Back to that young couple. Sure, I was glad they came to church. But next time, I hope that young man refrains from grabbing a pinch of snuff until after church. That might tax my tolerance.
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