I’m Reading A Real Smart Watch” and Apple Watch”

I normally automate some of my reading commentaries, which generally means that these posts only point to one article. In this instance, I had two articles that played off each other so perfectly, I was unable to separate my thoughts about them into two posts.

I read all of Ben Brooks items that are open to the public and have often toyed with the idea of becoming a member because he and I see eye-to-eye on a lot. I feel him on this one.

And this was never more evident than my recent internal debates about whether or not I should get an Apple Watch series 4 to try out — and no I won’t be getting one. Because the more you think about the Apple Watch, the more you realize that it exacerbates the problem — you have to choose: do you want to relax, or do you want to be more connected? If you want to relax, or have any hope in doing so, you need to get rid of your phone and Apple Watch as best as you can.

-A Real Smart Watch

However, it was right around the time I read this that two things happened almost simultaneously: I started helping Nash with his Apple Watch post and I ordered an Apple Watch Series 3 (currently in the mail). From Nash:

It’s becoming increasingly popular to have a little screen on your wrist, but as I ask around — those who own the Apple Watch and those who don’t — there’s a misconception of what its ultimate purpose is. If it was just an extension to your phone, there wouldn’t be much of a point to owning one.

-Apple Watch

You should go read both of these posts because they each are great. I am acutely aware of the dichotomy they respresent. Ben makes a good point about the two-faced nature of current technology discussions, wherein human beings both complain about the overabundance of information and the lack of fact-checking while staying as connected and reliant on that same information as ever. On the other side of the discussion is Nash, who has put forethought and effort into simplifying his daily life through technology. He discusses legitimate use cases for his Apple Watch and, in the most powerful portion of his post, addresses the very misconception that I believe leads people to use the Apple Watch in the way that Ben detests.

In a conversation with Nash recently, I suggested the following: Every decision is about priorities.” I believe that whole heartedly. Since I don’t prioritize having the newest or shiniest thing, I don’t usually buy brand new technology for my personal use. Since I prioritize minimalism and ecology, I buy things of quality that are meant to last. In this instance, I can agree with both of these posts because my priorities align with both.

I see the Apple Watch as a tool; one that must be wrangled, but inevitably leads to a more efficient use of my time and energy. Therefore, I agree with Nash’s assertion that there is utility (and sustained growing utility in the tool). I have taken many of the seemingly clichéd steps to calm my phone and watch habits, such as turning off many of my notifications and leaving whole social networks behind because of their noise. I have even stopped the Health features from notifying me for this reason. I use my Watch for the things that I prioritize, not what the Watch prioritizes for me. Therefore, I agree with Ben that there is a problem with tech addiction and the Apple Watch can be an extension of that problem.

Read, Think, Share, Repeat

The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.