Dear Pastor . . . . . Disconnect

by Robert Earl Houston

I am a Star Trek fan. Been one since the days of the original Star Trek – Captain James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock, Lt. Uhura, Dr. McCoy, Lt. Commander Scott, Ensign Chekov, and Lt. Sulu.  That show gave us a glimpse into the future. It was a hopeful and optimistic view of the future.

I noticed something in watching some recent episodes. The crew kept on their paraphernalia when they were on duty. Most of them had hand communicators but a couple of them, Lt. Uhura and Mr. Spock in particular wore wireless communicators that were placed on the ear and in the ear canal. 

Sounds a lot like today’s wireless bluetooth headphones. In many states, it is now illegal to operate a cell phone while driving an automobile. So many of our cars are now equipped with wireless bluetooth speakers and microphones built within the car. It’s an amazing technological marvel.

But I am wondering something – brother and sister in ministry – are we so connected that we can’t do without a cell phone connection for even a few minutes? I’ve been to churches, associations, conventions, conferences, and for some odd reason some of us sit in worship, sit in the pulpit, in some cases participate in the pulpit worship service, and now in some cases, preach while connected to a cell phone, with a “communicator” hanging out of the ear.

Are we really that busy? If we tell our people to do, as the song says, “Just forget about yourself and concentrate on Him, and worship Him . . .” Is it not reasonable to sing that song while you’re still connected by earpiece or worst yet, continually texting others not about the worship, but other things not related to worship.

The Presidents of the United States of America, to my memory, have never used, in public during events and speeches, ear pieces. And I know that we have a calling from on high – but I don’t believe any of us are connected to the Heavenlies via phone.

To me, it is disturbing to see the “worship leader” or “the minister in charge” with a bluetooth device clinched against their ear. It is disturbing to watch a minister’s voice get louder because he or she’s volume is diminished because of the bluetooth device covering one ear completely.  It almost looks like a later iteration of Star Trek – the Borg.  It says to me that either I don’t have your full attention or that God doesn’t have your full attention.

I think the time has come that we need to just step back, take a deep breath, and disconnect. Even if it’s just for an hour – from all that would remove our attention from the Lord. Can you imagine seeing your minister or yourself communicate the truths of the Word of God and then all of a sudden a telephone call comes in and he or she stops the sermon to talk with Cousin June-Bug? It sounds laughable but I’ve seen ministers with ear pieces inserted get a phone call and fumble with their cell phones to turn it off.

A few moments of silence and concentration may produce a view of something that we may be missing – the Glory of God.

A last comment: the night that First Baptist Church of Frankfort, KY called me, I was in a funeral service with my pastor in Nashville, Tennessee. The phone was on vibrate and my pastor looked at me and said “Don’t do it. It will wait until after service.” He was absolutely right. Although the phone message was important, my ministry to a family that was bereaved outweighed my personal desire to be “connected” via the phone.

In the words of the late Dr. T.L. Lewis – “A word to the wise is sufficient . . .”


2 responses

  1. Andre L. Porter | Reply

    Just my opinion Sir
    We are so consumed with appearance, that we want to appear to be connected, we want to appear to be in such demand, we want to appear to be running such a mega ministry that we are in constant need of being available to answer questions and make decisions. All of this is based off of image, not the SPIRITUAL ! We have taken on so much of the world that it is a total joke. The Church has lost her power (by choice), we have become so modern that can’t even make a difference within our own households, neighborhooods and most Churches members don’t even like each other and it is obvious. Technology is awesome when used in the right manner. We have become so disconnected by trying to be connected. “Now let us all go back to the ole time way (it was effective) .

  2. Interesting. I’m old school and while still at times marveling at the technological advancements, I often wonder why we need all this stuff. Let me count it up, everybody in my family has a cell phone; everybody has a lap top, ipad, tablet, I am included here as well (I’m on my lap top right now with my phone on the charger and my tablet w/in reach). My 9 yr. old grand daughter can text as fast, faster than me and my wife. In church I once preached a sermon and during the course of the message I asked everyone to hold up their cell phones and believe me even the mothers held up their phone! I encourage members to bring their bibles to church and they do, on the cell phones. I agree with Pastor Houston that sometimes we need to shut it down for a minute. If it’s that important, they got my home number. Oh, ya, I was trekken’ back in the day too.

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by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

About life, preaching, church, books, and other stuff.

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