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We don’t even know her name. She’s simply known as Lot’s wife, in both the Old and New Testaments. The tale is familiar, as Lot, his wife, and their daughters were told to flee for their lives and they would be spared the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as long as they didn’t look back.

But Lot’s wife looked back and literally became the salt of the earth.

It’s easy to chalk that up to “just her.” Even though I’m not a farmer, I get the point Jesus was making when he said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Pillar of salt. Not fit for the kingdom of God. No sugar coating there. Let’s not kid ourselves that we can go two directions at once. In both examples, a person was to go in one direction but looked back and it cost them so much more than a mere glance.

I’m not running from a city or working in a field, so what do these passages have to do with me? With you?

It has always been an option to be in one place without fully being present, yet modern technology has upped the ante; we can turn back or remove our hand from the plow in ways that even a mere ten years ago weren’t options. Chapter four in Jen Hatmaker’s 7: a mutiny against excess delves hard and fast into the death grip that media has on many of us. Ipad, Wii, Xbox, Twitter, Facebook, Linked in, Hulu, Netflix, Apps, downloads, internet speed, gaming, and skype. It’s kind of mind-boggling (remember when Boggle was a fun game that involved real shaking of real cubes and could be really frustrating?).

If Jesus was translating his response into our lingo it might go something like this: “No one who tweets while worshipping is fit for the kingdom of God.” OR “Any one who gets more upset over an internet connection than poverty is not fit for the kingdom of God.” OR “If you travel and are more concerned about clever posts and pictures than connecting with my people, you are not fit for the kingdom of God.”

Jen acknowledges the reality that life now requires technology, but for the month she and her family fast from gaming, tweetiing, facebook, any internet that is not work related and any texting that is superfluous commenting on life. If she saw someone in a hideous outfit, she had to keep that thought to herself.

As someone who lives at a distance from friends, family and many colleagues, it is hard to imagine my life with no technology. Been there, done that. Like this better.

Just as with possessions, I don’t believe that media is inherently evil. But the potential to misuse it is something to watch and, more than that, be honest with ourselves about. When people move to China we talk about being physically and emotionally present in the same space. “I can see that your body is in China, but I can’t make your heart, interests, or investment be here. If you want to work here, but spent most of your time on Facebook and Skype, I can’t stop you. But I can tell you that you will really end up being a disjointed, fractured version of the person you were meant to be.”

I enjoy media, and the blessings and connections it brings. It is nice to get a call from my mom that Dad is taking a sister to the hospital because she is in pain and at the same time receive a text from another sister. Media allows us to be together. However, I’ve also been at a meal where the person I was eating with seemed to be much more engaged with someone they were texting than the real live dinner companion. Though with someone, I felt alone.

Jen found that as she unplugged from an electric life, it created space for more face-to-face interactions to occur, between her children, her family, and with God.

That’s the heart of the issue. Am I walking towards someone or task intentionally, or am I looking back and not offering the gift of presence to those around me.

Even if you haven’t read the chapter, when it comes to media what helps you to keep it in balance? Where do you feel greatest tension about media?

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