The Lost Art of Face-to-Face Conversations

I have a list of memories of events that fundamentally changed the core of who I am today. Almost all of them involve conversations where I looked the other person or persons in the eye. Almost none of them involve staring at a text or post on a screen.

There is so much healing and release that happens when you’re able to look into someone’s eyes and find true acceptance there. There’s truly something transcendent that takes place when you’re able to hear the words and read the facial expressions and catch the totality of what’s being communicated.

Yet these days I see a lot of heads constantly buried in smart phones and other devices. Even those sitting across from each other literally within touching distance will choose to communicate via text.

The upcoming generations are probably more advanced when it comes to texting and posting yet almost completely inadequate when it comes to actual social interaction. That’s sad.

I am most certainly not against social media or smart phones. I have both. I am against them when they entirely replace the old-fashioned conversation.

As a pastor that I greatly admire once said, God didn’t see our dire need of salvation and send a text. He didn’t look at our predicament and tag us in a social media post. He sent a person. He took on flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood and met our greatest needs face to face. Because that and that only is where healing and forgiveness and restoration can take place.

It’s ironic that in the present age where we are more connected than ever that so many feel cut off and neglected. So many feel ignored and unwanted. As Mother Teresa once said, the greatest poverty is that of not feeling wanted by anyone.

The cure isn’t more connectivity but community. It’s not in having more Facebook friends but in cultivating the few real ones you have. It isn’t tagging more people in your posts but being more intentional about including them in your schedule for those face-to-face conversations.

That’s still what we need most.


My First Blog of 2016

Welcome to 2016. It’s a leap year, so we all get that extra day in February that nobody knows what to do with.

I’m thankful once again that I got another day to be alive and another chance to see another year in, even if it wasn’t with a multitude of people and loud festivities. I’m okay with that. It was just me and my sister and her family in a low-key celebration that ended up with just me and my brother-in-law ringing in the new year.

Currently, it’s 12:59 am and I’m pooped. Even after that 2 1/2 hour nap earlier, I’m still tired. I guess I know what my cat feels like most of the time.

I hope to see more of my friends face-to-face and have actual, honest-to-goodness conversations, preferably over coffee, tea, or some other beverage at a Starbucks or other similar type venue.

I hope to lose the weight I gained back after getting down to a good size. And this time, I’m keeping it off. As long as there’s no chocolate or cheesecake or any other type of food to tempt me.

I hope to see the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise, which I am apparently one of the few who hasn’t already seen it at least once. I’m thinking maybe of seeing it in IMAX 3D at some point in the next two weeks. Anyone want to join me?

As always, I look forward in anticipation to what God will do. As I read in a post earlier on Facebook, I’m trusting less in my own resolutions to do better and be better and trusting more in Jesus’ resolution to finish the good saving work He started in me way back when.

It’s now 1:06 and I am officially calling an end to this wild and crazy celebration. See you all later and may your 2016 be blessed and joyful.




I keep thinking about something I heard in a Kairos sermon. Basically, the gist is that the best gift you can give to a loved one, more than presents, is presence.

More than going to a store and picking up something that may or may not end up being regifted or donated to Goodwill, maybe the best gift you can give is you. Your time. Your attention.

Who in your life needs to see your actual face (and not just your profile picture)? Who needs a reminder that you haven’t forgotten them?

Is it a relative? Is it a friend?

You can send a Facebook post or a text, but the best is to have a face-to-face conversation, one in which you aren’t distracted by your phone or tablet, but where you fully engage the other person and actually listen to what they are saying.

Don’t wait. Don’t put it off. Not to be morbid, but you truly never know when it will be too late to have that conversation.

That’s really all I have. Maybe it’s something I need to do myself. Maybe I can find someone I haven’t seen in a while and try to reconnect.

Oh, and may all your traffic lights be green and all your checkout lines be short. Amen.


Ahh, Back in Ye Olden Days of 1994

friends 1994

Earlier, I ended up at Starbucks where I was waiting on a friend of mine. I decided to utilize their exceptional wi-fi (exceptional in this case meaning “way better than my home wi-fi”). I watched a couple episodes of the TV show Friends. Season 1 to be more specific.

It always cracks me up to see how quickly technology becomes dated. The old brick phones that they used to carry around seem as antiquated as the old tube televisions, but then I have to realize that they were the newest tech 20 years ago.

I also think that 20 years ago, people still predominately had face-to-face conversations. Sure, people talked on their cell phones, but at $5 a minute (or whatever the rate was back then), it was much cheaper to talk to a live person.

Now, we live in a world where we intentionally isolate ourselves through our technology. We can go through a whole day, even a whole week, without having to actually interact with another living soul. We can be connected 24/7 and at the same time be cut off from human contact.

I’m not suggesting we revert back to 1994 phones. What I am saying is maybe you and I put down those smart phones and actually participate in this beautiful, one-and-only life we’re given. Maybe leave the phone at home and take a walk or visit a neighbor or sit on the patio of a small cafe on a lovely spring day.

As much as I do love my iPhone, I admit it can be addictive. It can be a time-suck. I seriously doubt that I will get to the end of my life and wish that I could have spent more time checking on and updating my Facebook. And there are no real-life bonus points awarded for mastering Candy Crush. Sorry to disappoint you on that one.

Jesus said that if you want to do right then do two things. 1) Love God and 2) love people. There’s wisdom in the old saying that you love people and use technology or you love technology and use people. And technology doesn’t excuse ignoring people or being rude, but that’s a topic for another blog on another day.



Even though Albert Einstein probably didn’t actually say this, it’s still true.