Gadgets and do-dads

Father David Epps's picture

We had a bit of a crisis recently. On the weekend of July 4, our cable TV went out, our Internet connection was lost, and I misplaced my cell phone.

I couldn’t have been more isolated if I had gone to Alaska where Sarah Palin can see Russia from her porch.

Without television, I received no news, no weather reports, and could not watch my favorite programs. Without Internet, I couldn’t communicate or check up on people, And without cell phone service, I was simply alone and isolated from humanity.

Except for my wife, of course, but she was out tending to things like the beauty shop and the supermarket.

I remember the days before all those gadgets determined our fate. Once, I drove to Atlanta to see someone in the hospital. After my visit, I returned to the church office only to be informed that another church member had been admitted to that very same hospital at the very time I was there. I turned around and drove back to Atlanta.

That was the day I ordered a pager. Later I would get a mobile phone, which is not to be confused with a cell phone. A mobile phone looked something like the communication device used by the military in World War II. It was “portable” in the sense it could be installed in the car and was the size of a lunch box — only much heavier.

In my last church, I sent out a newsletter, through the U.S. Mail, to two or three hundred people at least once a month. There were printing fees, postage fees, and paperwork to fill out for the non-profit rate — now I send out something up to several times a day to many hundreds of people in a number of countries over the WorldWideWeb.

There are photos, articles, news items, prayer requests, announcements, all inexpensive, fast, and convenient. Only three households in our church do not yet have the Internet, so the communication gets to almost everyone instantly.

If anyone in our church or diocese complains about a “lack of communication” from me, it’s because they don’t have the right gadgets or do-dads.

When I was a kid, we had a black and white television, rabbit ears with aluminum foil on them, and three channels. I told my grandchildren, “When I was your age, I used to have to walk all the way across the room to change channels. Both ways. Uphill. In the snow.” They were suitably impressed.

Now, I have a pretty good size screen, a remote (which I get to use when Cindy is asleep), and more channels than I can possibly watch. I can even watch programs in Spanish, which would be great if I hadn’t flunked Spanish in the ninth grade and made up the credit by taking world history in summer school.

Where, by the way, the rooms were not air-conditioned because the only people who attended summer school were the morons who flunked a course because they got distracted by a girlfriend and ceased to study.

There was a fan in the room, but it was pointed at the teacher, the head basketball coach, who said that “morons didn’t deserve a fan.”

What I did gain by the loss of the technology for a day and a half was a certain sense of security. If terrorists attacked, I wouldn’t know it unless they blew up the local “grab and go” near my home.

Without TV, I didn’t fret if Survivor Man survived or not. Without the Weather Channel, I just went outside to see if there was weather that day.

Without email or cell service, no one could call me and tell me that a catastrophe had occurred, thus, I could tell myself that everyone was doing okay and nobody could contradict it.

Without technology, I was forced to read, to rest, to do things around the house. I grilled out, folded clothes, and fed the birds and the squirrels. I even had time to notice that a beautiful doe was grazing peacefully just outside my back yard. And no, you can’t shoot it.

It was much like spending a day at the monastery, except that the monastery has telephones — and you can’t grill out there.

I’m not a “technoclast.” I like the gadgets and the do-dads. They make life easier, though I do sometimes miss the solitude that was part of life before the world was accessible at the desktop.

Now, with accessibility being 24/7, 365 days a year, I have to go to a Third World country — or Alabama — to be isolated.

But I do want to change a few things. I need to get away from the electronic stuff occasionally. I need a bit more down time. And maybe, once that happens, I’ll get another chance to learn Spanish.

[David Epps is the founding pastor of Christ the King Church, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277, between Peachtree City and Newnan. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. He is also the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese (ICCEC) and is the mission pastor of Christ the King Church in Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at A website is available at]

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Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Mon, 07/13/2009 - 3:50pm.

Let me guess.........................Comcast.
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

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