How many cell phones are there in the world?

iPhone 5 Mockups

(Photo credit: methodshop.com)

I couldn’t tell you what the difference is between an iphone and a droid, other than that they’re different. My phone for the past years was a basic phone because we couldn’t afford the smartphone I had as a church planter. Now that I’m gainfully employed as a pastor again, it is a necessity. For those who may not think so, here’s some stats from Outreach magazine:

-75% of the U.S. population owns a mobile phone

-90% of us use one on a daily basis

-60% don’t go an hour without checking it (like me!)

-85% of children own a phone, while 73% own books (don’t let my wife/librarian read this!)

All of that is fairly interesting, but here’s the one that really gets me – if I could figure it out. It says that there are “7 millions” people on the planet (my guess is that it’s actually in billions). “5 millions” have a cell phone, and only “4 millions” own a tooth brush (must be in billions). So, more people own cell phones than own toothbrushes?!  Ick. I suppose everybody has to communicate through phones because of all that bad breath.

Even in the year that I took a sabbatical from smartphones, things have improved quite a bit. I feel like I had to learn it all over again. But what surprises me more is how many kids have them. I saw a middle school kids last week who had a new Samsung Galaxy 3, certainly a step above my Motorola Razr. It’s hard to keep up.

But, I have to keep up. It’s the language most people speak, and how can I communicate if I don’t speak the language? I believe that Jesus was up on the latest trends and lingo of the first century. That’s pretty much the definition of being incarnational. He knew what the people thought about the Pharisees. He also knew what the Pharisees thought about the people. It was clear to him that the people were looking for a messiah, but not the kind of messiah he was.

I believe he also dressed the way everyone else did. As a teenager, if walking around with your sandals untied was in, Jesus did it. If there was a certain hair style, he would have been all over it. It’s just like what Paul said in 1st Corinthians 9:22, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”

The trick is to not be consumed by what you’re a consumer of.  Jesus found a way to be relevant without allowing the things of this world be too strong of an influence on him, and so should we.

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2 thoughts on “How many cell phones are there in the world?

  1. Still there is something to be said for being different and countercultural. Jesus may have been incarnation, but he was so in a less superficial sense than fashion. He hung out with us, and ate with us. He preached “blessed are the poor” (read Luke’s gospel, there’s no “in spirit” following it). Hardly what a popular person would do. Even so, I acknowledge the prevalence and in many ways need for a mobile phone (when I did ministry work in kenya, I was amazed at how many people who didn’t have power still had cell phones (they would charge them in public places). However, we need to beware the danger of being too consumerist and wanting the hottest thing under the guise of being “relevant.” The focus must always be on our message, which in some (many) ways will never be particularly palatible.

    • Trey, you are speaking truth. I just wonder how we come up with the line as to what is superficial and what isn’t. If by wearing overalls in an urban setting people will not see me as somebody who can relate to them, is that considered superficial? Again, the biggest problem is finding the approach that won’t make us a slave to the things we can use as tools. Thanks so much for you comments, Trey.

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