That’s the word I had to look up recently when Dr. David Jeremiah used it in one of his commentaries in the Jeremiah Study Bible.
But instead of my usual practice of picking up my smartphone and popping it into the browser for a quick search, I made myself get up from the couch in my study to peruse my bookshelf there.
“I know I have a dictionary of Mom’s here somewhere,” I thought as I searched.
The one I found is a tattered leather-bound copy of Laird & Lee’s Webster’s New Standard Dictionary.
The last copyright listed is 1920 and the name written in a neat pencil cursive is that of one of my great aunts, my Aunt Dell, on my dad’s side of the family.
It was such a treat to open it and see her signature there—which represents more to me than the fact that this book is a family treasure to cherish, but also captures her commitment to education and the proper use of language.
All of that made me grateful that I had gotten up from the couch and found it there, because although I had seen it before, I had forgotten such a treasure was lingering right under my nose.
But why did I get up in the first place?
Why not just look polemic up on my smartphone?
As you may assume from the title of this post, I’m being very deliberate about reducing my dependence on that device, so I’ve been weaning myself off of using it so much.
There are lots of little reasons—which when tallied together fall into 4 major categories: data privacy and ownership, cybersecurity, diversification, and preparation.
Data Privacy and Ownership
Though I could cite specific stories that have recently been in the news, I’ll just say that generally, when we use connected technology, we’re vulnerable to having our privacy invaded in various ways and losing control over the data associated with that use.
Now, some people may not care about that, which is an individual decision.
Others may believe they own the data or images they post online in various contexts via their devices, but not all vendors would likely agree. Instead, there may be a phrase or two in the fine print of a privacy statement that outlines what rights the vendor assumes when someone uses their services.
Of course, the same potential is true for my laptop—which allows me to make a living from home and to connect with you through this post.
But having one less place where the possibility exists gives me a little more peace of mind.
Along the same lines, anytime we use connected technology, we make ourselves vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks.
Of course, there are a lot of great cybersecurity software providers who are working diligently to prevent this from happening, but the hackers are getting more sophisticated all the time—which you’ll see with a quick scan of related news.
So, again, I’m limiting the opportunities for that to occur.
“One stop shopping” has long been a business strategy for organizations that are able to create and thrive with that type of model.
Instead of niche companies that focus on one or a few things, other vendors offer an increasing array of services to both satisfy customer needs and drown out the competition.
While that might sound wonderful and can certainly make life more convenient, there’s also a potential downside involved: The more dependent we are on a single entity to meet our needs, the more willing we may be to tolerate things they do that we don’t agree with.
In that context, the need for convenience can be a trap.
For me, that’s where diversification comes in—ie, not putting all my eggs in one basket.
When I use services from a variety of vendors, I can more easily disconnect when needed.
Although I’m listing it last, this one is the most important to me and what pushed me to a greater level of urgency in re-evaluating how my smartphone use may be impacting my focus.
I certainly don’t know if we’re living in the Last Days or not, but in light of the ongoing deterioration of our world, the thought has often crossed my mind.
So, when we received a letter from Dr. Jeremiah’s Turning Point ministry recently about his current teaching series, “Where do we go from here?” I was incredibly excited, since he’s been wondering the same thing.
Dr. Jeremiah has also written a book of the same title, which will be released in October. Here’s the description from the website: “David Jeremiah reveals ten phenomena happening in our world today that prove tomorrow’s prophecies foreshadow the problems we are experiencing in our world today.”
I’m going to write more about that in this week’s newsletter, so I won’t do that here. Instead, I encourage you to visit his website or sign up for my newsletter to learn more.
So how does that relate to preparation and reducing my smartphone dependence?
In light of all that’s happening right now in both our country and across the globe, I feel a deep conviction that I need to be increasingly prepared for what may lie ahead.
Because for believers, I don’t think things are going to get any easier.
Instead, we may face some of our greatest challenges and persecution as we stand for Jesus.
And to do that, we must be as spiritually equipped as possible.
Certainly, there are many fabulous Christian resources available through smartphones—including online sites and apps.
But for me, there are also plenty of distractions when I pick up my device.
Distractions that have nothing to do with deepening my intimacy with Jesus and making the best use of my time and gifts for His purposes.
To best prepare for what may lie ahead, I need more and more and more of Jesus and less of what keeps me from focusing on Him.
If your vocabulary is like mine and you’re not sure what “polemic” means, Laird & Lee’s Webster’s New Standard Dictionary defines it as:
- Disputatious; quarrelsome.