By Dr. Rich Bimler, Lutheran Life Communities –

social mediaYes, it is true! And you read it here first! A new product is being unveiled this week throughout the country that will revolutionize the world of communications. No more need for an I-phone, an I-pad, texting, tweeting, nor even a Smart phone. This very inexpensive but highly valued new “gadget” is called “talking to each other”!

Well, perhaps I am over-stating a bit my frustration and concern about the current trend in how we communicate with each other. And it is not just the younger folks, It is people of all ages. Check out the latest statistics, from the Pew Foundation:

53% of adults over 65 use the internet or e-mail;

34% of internet users over 65 use social networking sites such as Facebook and 18% do on a typical day;

69% of adults over 65 own a mobile phone;

56% of adults over 76 own a cell phone of some kind.

And on and on!

The point is not that these new communication tools are bad and should be discarded, the problem is rather that our society seems to be relying too heavily on these gadgets. Have you ever tried to

have a real conversation with a grandchild who is immersed in her Smart phone as she texts away with someone in the other room? Have you almost been run over on a sidewalk as another pedestrian moves into your space, looking downward attempting to respond to a recent beep from his Know-it-all phone?

In some ways we are more connected than ever before in history. In other ways we seem to be spiraling into epidemic levels of loneliness. Joshua Banner, in the Cresset magazine, puts it this way: “Mobile technology promises us the ability to be everywhere and seemingly to be in control of everything. In truth, these devices cause us to be nowhere and in control of very little”. Stated another way, we are becoming masters of “the elsewhere self”.

But, rejoice, Facebook lovers, there is good news! It is called “talking to each other”! Why not begin today and actually take the time to converse verbally with someone close to you? Go visit your neighbor, and use words! Actually talk to the person in front of you in the Publix line. Greet the mailman with a cheerful, “How are you?” Even if we older adults use more four-letter words, great – as long as they are words like What or When or Opps!

I do not know about you, but I see the Lord best in other people. But how will I ever know if they might possibly see a spark of hope and joy and love in me if I never get out of the car or the house or from behind the computer to let them see for themselves?

Sure, as Martha Graham says, “misery can be a communicable disease”, but it does not have to be! Share your ups and downs by talking to each other!

Join me in helping to re-invent the Art of Talking! No instructions needed ! Open mouth, focus on a person, and start ….talking! Do not worry about the results. The Lord will enable and empower you and me to be in ministry-range of others as we rub shoulders and share words of love and joy and peace with those people who He has lovingly placed around us.

Altogether now …..1,2,3 ….Talk! Wow, what a product. Let us pray it catches on!

The Arlington
Living Brightly

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