Why God Didn’t Give Us Earlids

I love listening to audio. I would estimate that I listen to 20-30 hours of audio a week. Let me explain how this is possible:

First, if you use an iPod touch, or a device like it, you can get a program that enables you to speed up the rate of speaking. As a result, I can listen to 2-3 minutes of audio every single minute.

Second, I have the best set up to take advantage of every minute: I have speakers in my washroom for listening in the shower and my iPod connects wirelessly via Bluetooth with my headphones, which are Platronics Backbeat 903+.

These are really great for anyone that listens to a lot of audio, since you can press pause/play, next/forward track, or volume up/down. If you want to consider buying some of these get them on Ebay, and if you want a second opinion, this review is very accurate. The other thing that’s great about these headphones is that you can buy a bluetooth transmitter to go with them that allows you to listen to any audio source with a normal headphone jack, so this way you don’t need a device that has bluetooth built in. I use one with my Kindle so that if I want to use the read-aloud feature, I can do so wirelessly.

Third, I have endless audio to listen to from a variety of sources. Christianaudio.com gives a way a book for free every month; audiobooksforfree.com has a lot of material that is out of copyright; audible.com is great, but a little expensive; the public library provides audio books you can bring in for free, or access directly with your device through Overdrive; and finally, there are endless sermons and podcasts available on the internet.

As a teacher, this constant audio input makes me feel like I have a lot to bring to the classroom, but I know it also affects quite a few areas of my life: for both my home life and for how available I am in public spaces. I have been hyper-aware of this for some time, firstly because my wife often comments on how annoying it is to get my attention when we are in different rooms in the house; and secondly, my brother has told me several times that my brain is going to explode…

Alan Noble described me perfectly with his blog post: Compartmentalizing My World: iPods and Community. His article raises some really important questions for the iPod generation, so I have quoted Noble at length:

What makes iPods different than cell phones or PDAs or handheld game systems: [is that] they shut off one of our primary means of communication, often in very public settings, for the sake of private entertainmen  … someone using a PDA or handheld game system in public might be doing so for their own private entertainment, but they are not closing off their ears to those around them.

Listening to an iPod in public typically sends the message that the listener doesn’t want to talk to those around them and would rather listen to their music or podcast … The effect this has on me is that it encourages me to compartmentalize my world, to choose when I am “on” and open for conversation and when I am “off” and concerned only with my pleasure. … an iPod allows us a very visible and practical way to communicate to others when we are “off” at any time and in any place … As Christians we are not called to have our ears unplugged at all times, but we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. And if my habits, however beneficial they are to my understanding of God and however they might help me relax, lead me to visibly and forcefully cut off my neighbors, then I need to alter my habits.

Is this why God didn’t give us earlids?

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