Eugene Cho

Technology: Even that which can a blessing can grow to be a burden or worse, a curse.

Hey everyone. I’m back from vacation and back to the swing of reality. During my two week vacation, I took 10 days to un-plug, de-plug, get off the grid, and attempt to do a tech detox.

It’s not that I think everyone should do this but I realized that I needed to do this. Yet, I wonder if others are in need of regularly examining how they engage their digital lives. Technology addition is becoming a growing phenomenon and will be increasingly an issue. How do we know this? Because insurance companies are now beginning (out of necessity) to cover technology addiction – for both adults and children.

Technology is an amazing thing, isn’t it? What we’re able to do  – personally  and through our various circles of work, ministries, or organizations is nothing short of amazing. And even on a global scale, it is stunning to see.

A blessing can become a burden or a curse.

But even that which can a blessing – if not guarded well – can grow to be a burden or worse, a curse.

I see technology – like many other things – through that perspective.

It’s not that technology or social media was destroying my marriage, my life, or my ability to connect with my children. Not at all but in subtle and slight ways, it was becoming a growing nuisance. A thorn. A bother. A sore.

On couple occasions, my smartphone crept out of my pockets during my date nights with Minhee. I don’t know how it did that but it just crept out and next thing you know, my fingers were swiping pages left and right, texting, checking scores, etc. Epic fail. Clearly, Minhee wasn’t impressed.

Last year, I asked one of my daughters a very blunt question about how I could be a better father. One of her three answers was very simple:

“Less computers. More games with me…”

That’s a no frills, no holds barred answer.

This is why – for vacation (for the past 5 years) – I enjoy going to this very small town of 200 people in Nebraska so much. While the phone barely has a scant signal, we don’t have cable, internet, Netflix, and whatever tech stuff that can possibly get in the way of quality family time:

What did we do? Lots of driving. Games. Food. And of course fishing.

For me, fishing is just good for my soul and I’m so glad that my kids are starting to enjoy it as well.

Trinity caught the first three fish of our family derby:

Jubilee – as usual – did great. She might have a chance of going to college on a D-I fishing sports scholarship. You think I’m joking, right? Some schools in the South actually have this. Hmm…

Jedi caught the most fishing among the kids. One one day, he caught a cool 12 fishes and I’m not talking about on his Wii console. I’m talking real life. He caught one fish (a catfish) that nearly dragged him into the water. Here’s one of the basses he caught:

As for me, I probably caught over couple hundred fish including this nice beauty. We ended up releasing everything with the exception of one northern pike and one catfish.

My hopes for a more accountable tech engagement:

1. I aspire to have quality time and dates with Minhee without the third wheel of my smartphone.

2. I aspire to carve out several hours each night where I’m not on my computer, laptop, or smartphone. Instead,  I aspire to crush my wife and kids as we play more games. Crush them until they ask for mercy.

3. I take “sabbath” over two periods of 6 hours and I aspire to sabbath from tech during those periods.

And of course, I really need to do more fishing…

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6 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    Good ideas about keeping technology in its place. Overall I think more fishing is a great solution, time on the water is good for the soul!

  2. kcwebgirl says:

    nice catches! i so miss fishing with my dad and uncles. try to go every chance i get to go home for a visit.

  3. Karen says:

    Great advice. We go to a similar spot on the Oregon Coast each year where there is zero internet or cell reception. It’s amazing how well we can live without them…

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One Day’s Wages

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The Western Wall in Old City of Jerusalem (aka The Wailing Wall) - from the Second Jewish Temple.

I'm hoping to share a few stories of people that I met (Jewish, Muslims, and Christians) in the Holy Land in the days to come. One of our Palestinian tour guides said to me, "You will leave with more questions...and that's a good thing." He was absolutely right. We want everything so nicely packaged but if we're honest, it's very rare in a broken, complex world...and I can't think of too many things more complex than the situation in Israel and Palestine.

While I certainly understand and resonate with Israel and its history and its need to protect itself from harm, one can't deny the history and existence of Palestine as well. 
Is peace possible? This was the focus of my trip to the Holy learn more about the conflict and those that are working towards peace. My friend, Scott (and other pastor), Mae (our guide) and I had the privilege of going to a Jewish synagogue this past Friday. We were then hosted by a local rabbi and his family for a Shabbat meal. It was marvelous. Incredible. Illuminating. Delicious. A true honor to be invited to his home with his wife and three children. To pray, learn, share, and ask questions. 
What I loved the most was the story of how Rabbi Daniel and his wife rented a bus to take 15 of their friends to the West Bank ... to see for themselves the impact of the wall and the Israeli policies. Some of their friends had never even entered the West Bank...don't personally know a Palestinian. It's impossible to work towards peace when we don't know anyone from the other side...when we don't understand the other side.

Thank you, Rabbi Daniel. Old Jerusalem. So many stories. So much history. The synagogue in Capernaum (Galilee) where Jesus began his public ministry. He taught with authority... Pray for your pastors and teachers...that they may teach with courage, conviction, humility, and ultimately, directing people to Christ - the Word made flesh.

Speaking of, so excited to be teaching at @Quest Church tomorrow. If you're in the Seattle area, join us. A glimpse of Jordan River where John baptized Jesus. "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." What amazes me most about this event is about...timing and patience. For Christ, it wasn't about "if" but about "when." In a world of supersonic pace,  impatience, quick results, hurry and now and NOW...Jesus waited for the Father's timing. He was patient and faithful. I need to learn that waiting on the Lord in itself isn't apathy but rather an act of faith. The town of Bethlehem and at the site of the cave (aka manger) of the birth of Christ.

One of the highlights was a class of Palestinian Muslims and Christian kids in a local public school singing a Christmas carol for us in Bethlehem...just across the Shepherd's Field. Galilee. Surreal to be at the mountainside where Jesus delivered "The Sermon on the Mount" ... aka The Beatitudes. Walking around praying for Paris, Beirut, Istanbul, Nigeria, Mali, Palestine/Israel... This verse is so particularly important in light of all the violence in the world. "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." - Matthew 5:9

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