Are we losing the ability to be quiet and listen? That may sound a little strange since that seems to be the only thing people do these days, right? It seems that everywhere I go I can look around and observe seemingly countless teens silently and methodically rolling through an average day. Their activities are fairly normal: walking through a mall, eating at a burger joint, or even browsing in a local book store. Many times everything seems to be at peace. A common thread, however, that links many students together is the obvious presence of tiny headphones lodged deep into their ears.
It turns out that something that so many of us have in common can also be the very thing that divides us. Since the invention of Sony’s Walkman in the late 1970s, the trend of personalized music devices has exploded. Apple released the first iPod in 2001, and since then the devices have only gotten smaller, yet with more memory to hold access to literally thousands of songs, videos, and multiple other types of media in the palm of our collective hand. Everybody has one! We’re all the same, yet more distant than ever from each other. We’re rapidly forgetting what true fellowship and community is like, and perhaps many of us are trapped on deserted islands filled with a lot of noise.
Maybe it’s time to begin thinking differently about how we listen to music. The rising iPod trend (which takes on many forms--not just the iPod) offers very little opportunity to listen to music in community. We tend to think of music as my music, my playlist, etc. Not that all music should be a communal experience, but as Christians we should invite the accountability of others into whatever we’re spending our time doing.
It’s easy to deceive oneself along these lines: “I’ve had a long day. I just want to be alone, plug in my earbuds and not talk to anyone.” The problem with that is that we’re not alone. We may not be having a two-way conversation with another real human being, but we’re certainly allowing ourselves to be on the receiving end of a one-way counseling session. Often we choose to be alone, but not silent. Instead of quiet introspection, it’s easier to relax our mind and experience an emotional connection with our best friend, the Playlist.
We’re designed by a magnificent Creator for relationship. Christians should continually be seeking opportunities to have strong, lasting fellowship with others. We should explore what it means to love and serve God and others, and not get sucked into the lie that everything should be iCustom, iSelfish, iMe, iUniverse... iSolation.
What are some other ways we tend to isolate ourselves from the accountability of others? Would you be willing to listen to music that isn't your "style" in order to listen in community with others? You may comment below...
*pictures borrowed from: http://bit.ly/LG00MK, http://bit.ly/MkvnPD