Taking my daughter to a friend’s house a few times recently, I have noticed a sheltie collie at the end of one T-street on which I turn. The little dog stands at the front edge of its fenceless yard, waiting for cars coming to its street. As a car reaches the T of the intersection, the collie races madly to the end of the yard, then abruptly leaps and spins in the opposite direction and charges back that way, the whole time barking constantly. As you drive past, you notice it keeps repeating this process – flying back and forth, back and forth, with non-stop barking. Obviously it has been trained with an electric fence and collar, because it stays right on the front edge of the yard and never crosses the side edges of the property. Indeed, the last time I went by the collie had worn a path in the snow right down to the ground.
In this electronic age as I observe people (especially teenagers through the middle-aged) as well as myself, I cannot help but notice how we can behave like that collie. We have gadgets that we think are helping us control our lives like the owner used the electric fence to control his collie. Yet an honest assessment would reveal we are behaving way more like the collie. Running back and forth, back and forth, our gadgets’ beeping, ringing, and buzzing controlling our behavior, as all the while we yap away on our cell phones, IM chatting, and Facebook messaging.
We need some help. The video below can help us see ourselves better. Perhaps it will also encourage you to order and read Tim Challies’ book The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion. We need to learn how to live freely from the electronic dog leash we so unknowingly have slipped on.