In my twenties, I had the opportunity to lead a film crew to the headwaters of the Amazon River in Brazil.  We flew into the country, took a light plane up river, then chartered a freighter for a couple of days, then took a canoe the rest of the way.  It was before the days of mobile phones and email, and we certainly had no snail mail or phone of any kind that far up river.  We were there almost a month filming a medical team working in the heart of the Amazon basin.

During that trip we were completely cut off from the outside world – no communication, no contact, nothing.  How long as it been since you were completely alone?  Technology companies spend billions of dollars telling us how important it is to be connected, when 24/7 connection isn’t necessarily such a desirable thing.  Philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich said, “The word “loneliness” exists to express the pain of being alone, while “solitude” expresses the glory of being alone.”

How about you?  Are you so connected you never take time out to live deeply?  Can you appreciate the value of solitude, or do you have to be near someone physically or at least connected to a mobile device? Even Jesus spent 40 days and nights in the desert alone before launching into his life’s purpose.

For me, I’m going to start looking for reasons to get away, get inside my head, and stop living such a shallow life, bouncing back and forth from Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites.  Certainly there are times when “community” is a good thing, but not always.

Care to give it a shot?


Phil Cooke, Ph.D. is a producer and media consultant to churches and ministries across the country. His latest book is “The Way Back: How Christians Blew Their Credibility and How We Get It Back.” Find out more at

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