Danger behind a smartphone

“A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world.” –John Le Carre

I read this quote today after spending several hours behind my desk. If you spend a lot of time behind a desk, a laptop, or a smartphone, then maybe you’ll take pause as I did …

I don’t think this is a critique on those who have to work from a desk, computer, or smartphone, but it does provide some perspective on what true dangers are today. I would submit that our culture’s intense busyness and lack of solitude with God has taken us into the red zone.


I recently took my family on a five day backpacking trip for our summer vacation. We caught about 25 cutthroat trout (sorry I can’t tell you where we went, that’s a secret), we played a lot, and we had some amazing conversations around the fire and under the stars. There is so much I learn about each of my kids and my wife when we spend time out in the wilderness together. We cook together, enjoy plenty of time for conversation and have lots of quiet time in solitude with God. On this trip my kids shared some things with me that had been on their mind for months, but it wasn’t until we had all of this down time together that I was able to ask the right questions of them to draw out their true feelings. 

It’s humbling, but I took this as a reminder of the true danger of sitting behind my desk and laptop too much.

From my desk a few weeks ago before we went on our backpacking trip I would have said that we are all doing great as a family. And that was mostly true… but by having the time away from my desk out in the wilderness with each of them, I learned so much more about what is deep inside of their souls, that I didn’t even know that I was missing.

Wilderness ministry is so vital for the church today. We are all so “busy” but often that busyness is from behind a desk, computer, or laptop—and from there we can only see a small sliver of the world. The dangerous reality is that from there, we only get a small peephole view into the world and into people’s souls. 

One of Solomon’s Proverbs states:

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.


I think that modern culture needs to take a fresh look at “danger” and recognize that there are other dangers besides physical dangers in the world. There are dangers even more serious… like not caring for your own soul by abiding in Christ, or not knowing the souls of people God has put into your life and missing the Spirit’s nudging to speak into other people’s lives, etc.

From the desks of many, lots of large, important world problems are addressed. But from those same desks may be men and women who think they have a holistic picture of the world around them, but unfortunately are actually only looking through a chink in the logs. That is dangerous. We all need more time of solitude with God. Not more time behind our technology.


  • Are you “behind a desk” or “behind a computer or smartphone” too much?
  • Do you see any danger signs of arrogance in your life that you think you are seeing things clearly when actually you may only be seeing a tiny bit of light through some small cracks?
  • What is stopping you from getting out into God’s creation for some time of solitude and prayer to care for your own soul or the soul of someone else?
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