Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Holy Smartphones and Prayer Wireless

People now kill themselves shooting selfies. They don’t do it on purpose. They simply go one step too far as they try to get a perfect shot of themselves on bridges, mountain trails, or wherever. Terrible things can happen when you pay more attention to the device in your hand than you do to where you are and what’s going on around you. (Here’s a stunning Wikipedia list of selfie-related injuries and deaths.)
"Mobile phones make us think we can multitask, but there's now proof that they impair us, even when we're not behind the wheel." Geoffrey Fowler, Wall Street Journal 
The computer power many people now carry in their pockets is astonishing. With smartphones we can get directions to our next destination, order dinner, buy and sell property, meet potential mates, and do all the other things we used to do on desktop and laptop computers.

The apps on smartphones are increasingly meeting our various needs. They help us, inform us, and entertain us. They’re addictive and they demand our attention. Those same apps relentlessly collect data about where we go, who we interact with, how we spend our time, what we think about, and more.

They compile as much information about us as we’re willing to tell, and many people tell them just about everything. Then they push perfectly targeted ads based on the data we have provided. When you think about it like that, smartphones are now more like tiny personalized billboards than telephones.

Introducing Prayer Wireless. Canst thou hear me now? 

This piece first appeared in the January/February 2007 issue of The Wittenburg Door, the world’s pretty much only religious satire magazine.

Frustrated with calls that go dead for no apparent reason? Had it with not being able to get connected? 

Worry no more! Announcing Prayer Wireless, the ultimate in wireless communications. 

With Prayer Wireless, your call never gets dropped. You’ll never have to deal with a voice menu, or leave a message in hopes that someone will get back to you. Your prayer will go through, each and every time, the first time, guaranteed!

Prayer Wireless has been working flawlessly since the beginning of time. There’s no long-term contract, no roaming fees, no installation charges, no equipment to buy, and no monthly service charge. It’s absolutely free. Just pray, whenever, wherever, and however you want. God’s ready. Are you? 

Prayer Wireless. Networking solutions for the past couple of millennia or so.
I got an email with this in the subject line: “Prevent your heart-attack in 10 seconds.” It was then that I realized I needed a faster connection.

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Further Reading

Circle of Envy

The Lord's Fishing Buddies

Parable of the Aggressive Driver

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Thou Shalt Not Wallow

There was a swamp at the end of the street where I grew up. Beyond the swamp was a highway with a bridge that went over railroad tracks. Beyond the bridge were woods and a Naval Air Station. Those places were a playground of sorts for me and my friends.

The water in the swamp was nasty and the mud beneath it was really disgusting. When traversing the swamp, we did our best to avoid getting wet by jumping from one dry spot to the next.

Negative thinking can be like a swamp. Unfortunately, it’s easy to wade into it and to get stuck in it. Some of the sad things in life – the end of a relationship, loss of a loved one, or health problems – can take a while to get over. On the other hand, some things can throw us off balance for much longer than necessary if we allow them to.

It’s important to recognize when we’re up to our necks in the muck of negativity. It’s also good to have some way to extract ourselves from that. Taking a walk, watching or reading something funny or inspirational, or drinking a cup of tea can do the trick.

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Do you have a tendency to wallow in negative thinking more than you should? Have you found an effective way to shake yourself free from negative thinking? Please leave a comment.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Mind Garden

The Garden of Eden by Thomas Cole
The mind is like unto a garden. One man fed his mind with beauty: classical literature by the best writers, music that had stood the test of hundreds of years, and art by Michelangelo, DaVinci, and others like them. Above all, he sowed into his garden great thoughts from the Word of God. Each day he read something from the law, or the prophets, or the gospels.

The man was a clear thinker. He was rarely confused, even when he didn’t understand something completely. And when he made decisions, they usually proved to be very good decisions. Occasionally, when he made a bad decision and things didn’t go the way he planned, he remained optimistic and confident that he could still make good decisions.

Another man put all kinds of things into his garden: nouveau literature and philosophy, trendy art that wouldn’t stand up for more than the proverbial fifteen minutes, and whatever music happened to be playing on the radio. Furthermore, he polluted his garden with poisonous filth he unearthed in the unearthly World Wide Web. Unlike the first man, his thinking was confused and chaotic.

Whereas the first man’s thoughts were well organized and fit together well, the second man’s thoughts were haphazard. Thoughts bounced into and out of his mind in a most erratic manner. He had great difficulty making decisions at all. When he did make decisions, they usually didn’t turn out well for him and his family. On the rare occasions when things went well for him, he worried that they wouldn’t continue to go that way, and that always turned out to be true.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8, KJV.

This is from Chicken Nuggets for the Soul. If you liked it, you might also like some of the other stories in that ebook. It's available at

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Habitual Optimism

Positive Assumptions

Right Place, Right Time