In search of connection

Published 10:40 pm Thursday, September 27, 2018

By Wilson Caldwell

The scene takes place in a public space. Perhaps a restaurant as people sit across the table from each other for dinner, or a sporting event as people are taking in their favorite team, or maybe even a movie theater as people scatter to their seats to take in the latest blockbuster flick. As you look around these environments you see people of all ages, personalities, shapes and sizes. Differences aplenty surround what makes up the unique social spheres that we function within today. Yet, you do not have to look very hard to realize one glaring similarity that the majority of the people around you share. It is called a screen.

Recent studies have shown that 77 percent of all Americans, 85 percent of people ages 18-64, and 94 percent of people ages 18-29 own a smartphone device (Pew Research, 2018). The smartphone has undoubtedly transformed the ways we are able to gather information and connect with each other. Whether it be quick access to breaking news from around the globe, or the ability to search that question that is riddling us by quickly jumping on Google, or perhaps it is facetiming our family on the other side of the country, we are seemingly more connected than we have ever been before, having a world of opportunity and connection right at our fingertips, able to be accessed practically anytime and anywhere. Yet, despite all of this technological advancement and opportunity, could it be that more harm is being caused than good?

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The honest truth that must be faced today is that within our culture we spend far too much time in front of a screen. Screen time adds up to hours upon hours for some people between phones, tablets, televisions and computers. Some of this time is for beneficial means such as work or school, but oftentimes it’s simply for surfing or lounging. Though we seem to be more connected than ever before, in reality we have simply become connected with convenience, all the while starved of substance. We’re missing opportunities to listen, learn, help and invest in the lives of those around us. The problem with this is that relationships require substance and must not be limited to mere convenience. People are in need of community, but the community at large is too busy hiding behind a screen.

As a follower of Christ and leader of people in His ways, I am challenged by this reality we are facing within our culture. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 says, “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” There is a need now more than ever to challenge each other to stop living within the idleness of technology and begin engaging with the society around us. People require time and patience. When we search for the source to relate with people, we must look no further than Christ Jesus, the one who laid down everything for us that through Him we might have life. Though people require time and patience, at the end of the day it is all worth it! So, may we begin to lay down those screens and look for the opportunities to be present to those who surround!

Wilson Caldwell is the associate pastor of students at First Baptist Church Suffolk along with his wife, Brittany. He can be reached at