Living the Chaplain’s Code in the Digital Age by Chaplain David Fair

Eyes on a phone and pods in your ears make us detach from reality. It’s a big problem.

Recently I met my daughters and granddaughters at a nearby restaurant.

Throughout the meal all I saw were the tops of heads. Everyone from my seven year old granddaughter to my adult daughter was either texting away, e-mailing or searching the net.

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I was finally able to engage everyone in a conversation with the promise that I would eventually say something crazy enough for them to Tweet and/or Facebook about later.

We live in the age of high tech, instant gratification. Kids on computers starting at age 3. Before you know it, they are X-boxing, Twittering, Facebooking and experiencing life through 3-D TV.

Of course it not just the younger generation, all ages have been seduced by the wonders of modern technology.

I submit to you there is no way I as a chaplain can live the Chaplain Code in a Digital Age without turning off my cell phone and looking you right in the eye.

One of the tenants of the Chaplain’s Code is the ministry of presence. A chaplain doesn’t have to say or do anything. Just be present with you in your time of need. You sense I am there with you and even though we aren’t speaking with our voices we are talking with our hearts.

There is no way I can be present with you through an email or a text message. There is no way we can have that heart to heart conversation unless we are both fully present in the here and now. Present in the same room face to face.

Let me challenge you to do five things:

  • Set aside one hour a day to turn off your cell phone.

  • Resist the urge to check your email, text a friend, or look at Facebook. It will be difficult. Enjoy the silence. Be present in the moment right where you are.

  • Listen to the sounds around you. Actually hear what you have never heard. Enjoy the silence. Practice being present in the moment.

  • The next time you are together with family or friends take out your cell phone and make a big production of turning it off. See the surprised faces.

Then enjoy the moment. Learn the ministry of presents. We all chaplain someone everyday in someway.