We’ve been disconnected.
Part of the disconnection is by design. I handed over my ministry responsibilities to others for a couple of weeks. I turned on an Auto-Reply for my email. I muted a bunch of my GroupMe channels. These were all deliberate steps to make myself less available.
The rest of our disconnection has been circumstantial. We just haven’t had much connection with the outside world on this vacation. Western New York is largely rural and mountainous. The cabin where we’re staying doesn’t have WiFi, and there’s no signal for my smartphone, either. No telephone, no internet.
And it’s been wonderful because the disconnection with the outside world compels us to more meaningfully connect with each other. We’ve been playing a lot of Frisbee. The five of us have been eating together, three meals a day, talking as we enjoy our food. We’ve been sleeping longer and reading more books.
But the disconnection has also been weird. It’s caused me to realize how much I check the internet to see what the weather outside of my window is (or will be). I feel itchy to upload and adjust the record of my physical activities on Strava (my favorite social medium these days). Elliot has a similar compulsion about perpetuating his TikTok streak. I’ve gotten lost more frequently, without turn-by-turn directions supplied by my smartphone.
Anyway, I was excited about our family’s drive to Lake Ontario this afternoon. Excited for the family time and relaxed beach vibes, of course. But also, honestly, kind of excited to think that we’d have cleaner cellular signals from Rochester and Buffalo. I felt like I needed to post something about Juneteenth, after some deeper conversations about Race that we’ve been having in our church. I’m not sure how much my post accomplished. It was a short video of a roaring waterfall at Letchworth State Park plus a repetition of similar imagery from Amos 5:24, applied to God’s justice. Not much of a statement, in the grander scheme of things. Still, this year’s observance of the end of slavery in the United States felt like a cultural moment that needed to be acknowledged.
My disconnection from News and Social Media has actually helped to crystallize much of what I’ve been reading about and praying about and thinking about, recently. Two books that I brought along with me on vacation also helped to fortify my thinking. God has been stirring my heart about Racism, even as our whole country has been getting stirred up about Racism. And it’s only through resting in Him that I’ve been noticing what’s going on in the world around me.
I’ve been disconnected — from what really matters — for too long.
Part of my big-picture disconnection has been carefully cultivated over centuries of systematic injustice. And that disconnection has actually kind of worked “wonders” for my people throughout history. Another part of my big-picture disconnection has been more circumstantial. I just didn’t have the opportunity to forge meaningful relationships with people of color early in life. So, I was ignorant. Not in a willful sense. Still, innocent ignorance is ignorance — a lack of knowledge — and it needs to be corrected. Remembering God’s heart for freedom and justice on this day are an important element of that correction for me.
I’m resting up these days, gaining the perspective and perseverance I need to keep going in my life and ministry. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” And the world. I’m praying that God’s Kingdom done and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.