J Walking

I think I know why Patton was pushing me so hard to explore the greater significance of my initial glee over Apple’s new iPhone. He’s addicted to his own Blackberry/Treo/handheld thing. Patton, thank you for discussing the problem with us – getting help is always the first step to recovery. 🙂

More seriously, I understand your problem. I had my first Blackberry when I was at the White House. It was actually a status symbol. Those with Blackberry’s were the more senior folks on staff. Some junior staff actually bought their own so that they could look cooler even though they couldn’t actually get email on them – such is the insanity behind the White House’s iron gates. And it was addicting. It gave me the great illusion of power and significance – if I was getting lots of emails all of the time then I mattered. Most everyone felt that way. This is hardly isolated to the White House, of course, hence the popularity of the device.

One of the happiest days of my life, however, was when I turned in my Blackberry. That was a little more than three years ago. I have no interest in getting another one. Increasingly, I try and go places without my cell phone (something my wife, who actually works in the cell phone industry, finds particularly annoying) just so that I can be places where I am out of touch.

How does this fit with my wanton adoration of the iPhone? I just thought – and still think though the passion has greatly dulled – it was gorgeous and wonderful and cool. And that is that.

Deeper issues?

Consumerism, materialism, greed…the stuff our economy depends on cultivating within us. I was in the pharmacy the other day to pick up something and decided to count the different kinds of Valentine’s Day candy that was displayed. I believe I got up to like 70 before I stopped. The other day I wanted to get some new sidewalk chalk for Livvy and looked online at Amazon…there were three pages of choices.

Meanwhile, as I have written these words, thousands of children will have died around the world from poverty, malnutrition, and preventable disease….

I remember talking to a cab driver about such things one day. He was from Haiti. He loved Jesus. We talked about his country’s dire poverty and I asked him if he was angry at God about it. “Angry at God?” he said quizzically, “Why?” Because, I explained, because his country was so poor. “That is not God’s fault. He has given this world plenty. The fault is ours because we do not share.”

There is a way to share and we can find it.

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