For the last two days I’ve been with out a computer. My MacBook Pro is on a little vacation for some R&R. Okay, it actually had a bunch of problems all at once and I finally broke down and sent it off to get fixed. I should have it back on Thursday. I am writing […]

For the last two days I’ve been with out a computer. My MacBook Pro is on a little vacation for some R&R. Okay, it actually had a bunch of problems all at once and I finally broke down and sent it off to get fixed. I should have it back on Thursday. I am writing this post from my wife’s 12″ Powerbook.

Now, if you know me you’re probably wondering if I am breaking into a cold sweat or something but I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed not having my computer with me all the time. Here’s why…

I’ve spent more time thinking and reflecting.
The thing with having my computer around all the time is that it makes it hard to just sit and be still and reflect and do some critical thinking about the church and our mission. When sitting at a desk or table, I usually have my computer open and it is often distracting me. Not having it has allowed me the opportunity to not be so distracted and really get some critical thinking and reflecting done.

I’ve read longer and more.
This follows the same logic as the last one. Again, this shouldn’t be rocket science to me but it’s amazing how hard it is to get reading done with a computer on in front of you. Duh eh? I can read for longer periods of time and retain more when the computer isn’t around.

I’m spending more time with people.
This is another “duh” and a really good reason to keep the computer in my bag more often. It’s a lot easier to set up time with people when the computer isn’t calling my name.

Not having a computer makes me think critically about what it means to be a pastor and leader
Let’s face it, all of us, no matter what our job is, can find reasonable and legitimate things to do on the computer that fit our job description but keep us from doing the most important parts of our job. This is especially true for pastors. A small example: Since I didn’t have my computer to distract me today I was planning my day and ended up stopping by to visit one of our community members at work. We ended up having a conversation about a fantastic new idea / experiment around reaching out to the local hispanic population in the area. Unfortunately, I probably wouldn’t have done that randomly if I was sitting in front of my computer all day.

What Now?
Like I said this stuff isn’t rocket science, but it seems fairly obvious that I need to learn to keep my computer in my bag more often. I mean, my grandpa, a pastor who I respect as much as anyone never really had a computer to use like I do. I am guessing ministry looked a lot different for him than me. I am fairly sure that us pastors have become far too dependent on and distracted by the computer for our ministry.

I think we would all do well to leave our laptops at home a few times a week.

So, that’s just what I am going to do when I get it back. I’ll be taking at least one day a week where I just leave it at home. Now, since I am not only a pastor but a web designer I’ll likely have to spend an hour in the morning and afternoon of those days taking care of things I need to do on the computer. But, most all the time those things can wait a few hours.

Now, granted, I’ve been using the iPhone that I got for Christmas. They didn’t have iPhones in 1989 so hence the reason for the “kind of” in the title of this post. The iPhone has worked well for me because its not near as distracting as my lap top. When it all comes down to it, its really hard to spend more than a minute or two checking e-mail and surfing the web on the iPhone. Its more of a quick task type device, so its actually been a great companion while I’ve been out and about the last two days.

Now, perhaps many of you reading this post will be like, “wow, this dude has problems. Its sad he’s so addicted to his computer.” So, maybe I am showing some unfortunate true colors here. But, I am guessing I am not the only pastor / person out there who needs to hear this. Right?

  • The last few years, my Lenten discipline has been to shut off the computer from noon until after the kids go to bed (I do break the fast early, Holy Week is too much of a log-jam to deny the use of the tool – at least, that’s what I tell myself). I usually read several books, and hang out with the family more. It’s a good thing.

    This year I’m probably going to make this a fast several days a week – it’s just a good thing.

  • This is something that God is working on me about. I’ve gotten caught up in reading a lot of blogs, and I’m finding it’s taking an inordinate amount of time that could be spent on other things.

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