As a viral video, it’s not done badly – around 38.5 million views to date in just over 3 weeks, and 31,000+ comments made just on YouTube. Gary Turk has given us a well made, enjoyable vid that is overwhelmingly ‘agreed with’. It has appeared and reappeared in my feeds for the last few weeks, and if you haven’t seen it yet, here it is.
Our reactions? Yes. This is an issue. ‘What he says.’ I agree. ‘Like’. Sure, I should quit this addiction, but… how?
I seriously doubt if Gary, no matter how passionate he is about his message, has convinced 38.5 million people to leave their phones behind, even periodically. If in fact he’s convinced some to ‘use it less’ (I say, yay!), I nevertheless doubt that the resolve of those digital device users will last long.
What ‘Look Up’ fails to offer is a viable alternative that is truly powerful enough to deliver us from the seduction of the digital world. It points out that I might miss meeting the man/woman of my dreams because I was absorbed with my GPS. That’s not enough for me to quit my addiction.
In case you hadn’t noticed, they’re not all beautiful people out there, in the real world. They’re not all living lives like something out of the John Lewis ad (here). Last time I actually asked directions, she wasn’t that pretty (and the directions were still sketchy). And out there I’ve got real, hard, challenging responsibilities, and there’s ugly people and smelly people and more suffering than I know what to do with. I’d rather retreat back into my near-perfect digital world.
Not only that, but outside this digital bubble, I have to live with myself – my real, imperfect, frustrating self. It’s not comfortable being actually interactive, in real life. I’m too proud to admit I’m lost, ashamed, embarrassed (more a Brit problem?). I’m reluctant to have a real opinion, in case you – to my face and not in a comments line – actually turn round and disagree with me.
‘Look Up’ offers no answers to this. It’s nearly on the money, but not telling the whole story. ‘Look Up’ ultimately fails to point to the right person who has the power to set us free and bring us into real, full, vibrant living.
I know that Jesus can do this. ‘Look Up’ is still written and published from a worldview where personal happiness is the ultimate goal, where ‘living happily ever’ after is at stake. It’s not truly honest enough about the real world it calls us back into, or the real state of our selfish hearts. Jesus is. And Jesus staked his life on doing what was necessary to set us truly free.
I’m living this out as I follow Jesus, and often stumble. I’m sometimes torn by the seduction of the digital world, but I really am finding that Jesus is working in my life to help me to maintain margins. He is helping me to embrace the only real alternative to the digital world: to face the ugly truth about me – accepting the desperately hard-won solution that only Jesus offers, and then to engage with the real, imperfect person next to me in a way that changes both our lives.