I was watching a documentary on the Amish recently and although I don't completely support their spiritual beliefs, I was convicted by their way of life. I had always thought that they were legalistic and filled with contradiction. For instance, you can have a phone in the barn, but not in the house. You can have a motor on your tiller, but not use a tractor to harvest. However, I heard their reasoning explained in a way I never had before. One leader being interviewed said, "We determine what technology we allow into our community based on how it effects relationships. Plowing is a singular activity so we allow a motor, however harvesting is something a father does with his children and a machine would take away that interaction." He went on to say the same about a phone outside the house. It is there to make necessary communication, but someone is less likely to stand there for hours talking. Look, I know that the Amish aren't exactly the model for healthy relationships, and we don't need more rules about what we can't do, but it made me stop and think. Am I willing to strategically deny myself technology in order to better connect with the people around me? What am I doing out of habit(or convenience) that is robbing me of precious time with people that I'm called to love? We don't have to demonize or abandon technology, but I believe that we could all benefit greatly by becoming more aware and making some disciplined changes in this area.
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