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Thursday, April 04, 2019

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has always been with us, of course. In the earliest of days it was scenery and passersby. Then there were advertisements and fast food. We have had radios in cars for a long time and passengers and arguing children and pets and ... well, you get the idea. As long as we've been driving we've had distracted driving.

It's worse now, of course, thanks to our modern technology. Now we've brought our Internet and phone and mapping system and email and texting system and audio/video entertainment and even our own personal movie-making capability into our driving. And we're paying for it. According to the Department of Transportation, 3,450 people were killed by distracted driving in 2016 and 391,000 were injured by the same in 2015. It's a problem.

Of course, distracted driving is only part of the problem. Distracted living is the real problem. We are called to be followers of Christ, to make disciples and teach them all that He has taught (Matt 28:19-20). We are to lay aside the things that trip us up and run the race set before us, "looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb 12:1-2). We are to ... hang on, I have a text ... oh, look, email! Hey, did you see who got arrested this week? Man, that was a funny cat video. Oh, wait ... where was I?

No, it's not just smartphones. It is smartphones and so much more. We are inundated with information and education and entertainment and amusement. There are vital political issues at stake here and the need for keeping a critical eye on Star Wars sequels. We need to monitor what our kids are watching on television (because apparently they come with channel changers, but not "off" buttons). If we don't keep an eye on Trump or Pelosi or Bernie or whoever we're keeping an eye on, who knows what will happen? And, besides, there are kids' soccer games and ballet classes and so much to keep up on if we're going to be good parents. There is work and recreation that doesn't appear to actually recreate anything. Oh, and there is sin. Lots of sin out there. (Heavy emphasis on "out there".) We need to watch for that. Because the sin of the world is -- all kidding aside -- shaping our thinking. Not the Word of God. Not our Christian walk. Not our churches. The world.

Distracted driving is only part of the problem. Christians are too easily distracted from what is important -- following Jesus -- to get caught up in stuff that seems important but is more distraction than valuable. What is actually valuable? "I count everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ" (Php 3:8). How many of us can say that? How many of us are closer to making a shipwreck of our faith (1 Tim 1:18-20) because of driving our lives while distracted?

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