Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

4 Sep 2013

What the Delinquent Cable Provider Taught Me about the Ordinary Means of Grace


I’ve read about people who go on technology fasts—some to concentrate on more important priorities, some to relate with other cultures or eras, some to prove to themselves that they aren’t really technology addicts after all. I’ve never felt the need to abstain. But after a recent move to a more remote address here in Michigan, we were subjected to five excruciatingly long weeks of disconnection: no internet; no TV.

The TV deprivation wasn’t so bad. I missed a decent stretch of Tigers baseball and the first day of the college football season, but I was able to read the game summaries and found that I really didn’t miss much. But five weeks without internet left me reeling. No email, no news, no weather, no Google anything. I dusted off my radio, used a telephone, and even consulted a cumbersome little book called the “yellow pages.”

And like the addict sneaking out of his house to find another shot or joint, one or all of us in the family found ourselves sneaking out, nearly every day, to the local library (at 6.7 miles away, the closest publicly available Wifi). Sometimes we had to do this—a document for the realtor, a work assignment, etc.—but mostly it was because we couldn’t handle the silence. We could not get the information we wanted, and we couldn’t talk to the people that we vainly imagined wanted to hear from us. So we made the sacrifices and manufactured the time necessary to make it happen.

Now that this terrible ordeal has passed, I can’t help but reflect on my relative ambivalence when time constraints make it difficult for me to talk to God, to hear from God, and to interact with God’s people. And I find myself chastened. So I make no attempt at profundity today, except to remind our blog readers of the profound simplicity of the ordinary means of grace and how incredibly important they are.