Fast Lane at the Drive-In

SonicMatt Jeffreys is the pastor of Ridgeline Community Church in Temecula, California. He’s a young guy—hip, smart, and passionate about his ministry. I was having lunch with him at this meeting in Oklahoma City last week and he was telling me the story of what happened to him at the Sonic drive-in that just opened up in Temecula.

“My wife and I were kind of excited about the new Sonic,” he said, “because we used to go all the time when we lived in Texas. So, I pull up in one of the spaces, place my order, and while I’m waiting for my food to come I start tapping my foot to the music they’re playing over the speaker system. I don’t know what the song is, but I like it, and so I take out my iPhone, hit “Shazam” (an application that “listens” to music and identifies both the song and the artist), and it tells me what the song is. And then it (the iPhone) asks me if I want to download the song from iTunes (another Apple innovation that lets you buy music online for 99 cents a song). ‘Why not?’ I thought. And so I clicked ‘yes’ and the song began to download but it was taking, like, forever!”

And that’s when he noticed that the song had downloaded in less than a minute. It’s not like he was doing anything else. He was waiting for his food to come. But he had grown impatient with his technology for not being faster than it was.

Matt thinks (and I agree) that this is a symptom of the time in which we live, when anything less than instant gratification seems like too long to wait. When I asked his permission to tell this story he added these examples:

“Just this last week I found myself clicking my garage door remote over and over as I was getting closer to my actual driveway, trying to get the door to go up the very second the signal would reach. And I started pushing it well before I knew it would open. I guess I do that regularly, I’ve just never noticed until I started tracking the symptoms of ‘hurry sickness’ in my own life. It’s not enough that my garage door will open automatically, I want it to open FASTER. Pathetic.

“Also this last week, while going through the drive-through at Chick-fil-A in Temecula, I caught myself driving up to the window from the place where you order while the girl who was taking my order was still talking! She was just saying ‘have a great day & pull-up…’ but I was already on my way. I didn’t want to spend an extra 1-2 seconds while she finished talking. Again, pathetic!”

He concludes by saying:

“It’s definitely a different day in human history. Everything is so fast and easy, yet we’re more exhausted & frazzled than ever.”

Matt is being too hard on himself. He’s just part of a culture that’s been pushing us faster and faster, promising us more and more, and yet, as he says, we often end up “exhausted and frazzled.”

So what does Matt do? Every once in a while he asks his staff to turn over their iPhones and for 24 hours they all “fast” from the instant gratification of modern technology. They take things slowly, as they come, and try to rediscover the rhythms of life before the Internet, before the computer, and even before the 1950’s era Sonic Drive-In. They try to follow the stern command of Psalm 46:10:

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

5 thoughts on “Fast Lane at the Drive-In

  1. Psalm 46:10 – one of my VERY favorite!! I have a number of friends/family who seem to know very little about “being still” these days. I am sad for them . . . Yes, the need for instant gratification appears to have gotten out of control. Technology is great, but a double edged sword, for sure. I have some friends and family who actually seem irritated when I don’t answer my phone and/or return messages immediately. I remind them that I do not carry my cell phone around on my hip, and that when I am working in my home/office studio, the phone is turned “OFF.”

    When tropical storm “Gaston” hit Richmond a few years back, our neighborhood was without power for 8 days. As difficult as it was to survive that week, it was a blessing in a way – we had no choice but to “Be still.” Neighbors actually got together (outside, even!) and had conversation. I happened to have shrimp in my freezer that I was forced to either cook, or throw out. I fired up my little charcoal grill and shared some “shrimp on the barbie” with neighbors, and it was great! I was reminded of my camping days, when I learned to fry an egg on a tin can out in the woods – WOW! Do kids go camping like that anymore? (Sorry, folks. This blog subject matter is taking me back to the “good ole days”)

    With all the disasters we’ve had in recent years (natural and man made) maybe it’s God’s way of saying, “Be still and know that I am God, and learn to know and love your neighbors as well.”

    Another favorite verse of mine: Phillipians 4:6;
    “Be anxious for nothing . . . “


  3. As I read this on my iPhone, I had to reluctantly agree that this subject hit very close to home. My ‘fast’ begins after I post this comment. Just don’t expect me to reply for 24 hours!

  4. Technology has become our greatest idol. May God forgive us!

    Miriam & I are an exception. The only “idol” we have is our computer, thanks to the generosity of my Men’s Accountability Group at church.

    We have no cell phones, ipods, etc.

  5. There are many older people in your congregation and on the Tv who are not rushed and overwhelmed. They are lonely isolated and underwhelmed. They do not know technology. They need spiritual guidance to help cope with their over abundance of time and illnesses. God bless them all.

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