One-On-One With Curtis Zackery (GT Connext)

In our May/June 2012 issue, we were glad to feature a guest Technology column from Curtis Zackery, a teaching pastor at Living Hope Neighborhood Church (Richmond, CA). Curtis is passionate about communicating the truth of the Gospel through creative means, so he has lots to share on the role of technology in the lives of believers.

We caught up with Curtis to gain a bit more insight from him as it relates to his column. If you haven’t read it, be sure to grab it. It will serve as a starting point for our chat below!

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Q: In your column, you raised the idea of our hearts being “idol factories” and that, in this tech-savvy world, we are often inclined to make technology one of those idols. What is the cure?

A: I think this is an extremely important question to address. I believe the only remedy for the production of idols in our lives is the continual preaching of the gospel to ourselves everyday. Too many Christians think of the gospel message as simply the means by which we experienced conversion. We have been deceived into believing that the gospel is “Christianity 101” and we move past it in our growth in the faith. When we continually refresh ourselves with the gospel of truth, we are able to understand what it means for us to “take up our cross daily” and pursue Christ. When we understand the weight of that which we were rescued from, we will not allow anything to take the place of God in our lives.

A huge factor in controlling our idol factories is to begin by acknowledging that we are, indeed, granting certain things in our lives the place of a god– “lower case g”.

Q: It’s enticing to use services like Facebook and Twitter to stay connected to everyone. Is there inherently wrong or sinful with using social networking as your primary means of connecting with people? When does it cross the line?

A: I don’t believe that there is anything inherently wrong with those mediums. As someone that recently moved across the country from Tennessee to California, I benefit greatly from the ability that social networking provides me to stay connected with my friends and family. I’m reminded of when Paul is addressing the Corinthians by saying:

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV)

He was quoting what was most likely the prevailing thought in and amongst the people that “all things are lawful” as long as they bring me pleasure. This is obviously still the major thought that resides in our culture as well. Our ability to justify our actions and what we “deserve” as Christians knows no bounds. It is important to know if, as Paul stated, we are being dominated by these mediums. One great way to determine if this is the case is to simply make an intentional move away from them from a period of time and gauge the strength of your compulsion toward them when they are absent from your life.

Q: What are some ways that you have had to be intentional about disconnecting? How has it played out in your life?

A: I had to be honest with myself about the dangerous and unhealthy position technology held in my life. Though many of the individuals around me wouldn’t have necessarily perceived my desire for tech as a big deal, I knew my heart and how I’d elevated my desire to unhealthy levels. This led me to repent to the Lord for allowing gadgets to become an idol in my life that distracted me from my pursuance of Him. I began by making an intentional move to a cell phone that didn’t have apps or many readily accessible distractions. I also “fasted” from most technology for a period to understand how much I had allowed it to infiltrate my life. As a result of these maneuvers, I am now able to enjoy gadgets and technology in moderation. I still love gadgets but I refuse to allow them a place of dominance in my life.