The story is that Satan accepted an invitation to be interviewed on "The Larry King Show." When Larry asked his predictable question about the devil's proudest moment or greatest accomplishment, there was a wistful pause.

"Ah, there have been so many good ones," Old Scratch began. "There have been gruesome murders and devastating wars and whole cities laid waste."

"But surely there is one foul deed you consider the crowning achievement of your devilish career," pressed the TV host.

"Actually, yes," sighed the devil. "I am the one who invented call waiting."

Technology drives all of us a little nuts now and then. For all the oohing and aahing it has elicited, most of us will probably be able to live without an iPad. There are days when I wish the leash of my mobile phone and BlackBerry could be cut. Then there are the calls that require that we listen closely because the menu has changed — and added another 27 steps to get to a human being!

Has technology had anything to do with shaping our lives of late? Altering the communications landscape? Even changing worship? Who could deny it!

It likely began with television's shortening of our attention span. It wasn't long before reason and facts were replaced with images, feelings, and sound bytes. There was more immediacy and less reflection. Faith has morphed into feeling, and discipleship has been replaced by membership.

Cultural trends are dictated by Facebook, and anything that gives as much information as e-mail is passé. A tweet is "enuf info 4 u." Will anyone know how to write a coherent sentence with correctly spelled words from this generation — much less a paragraph? As Snoopy used to say about such things, "Aargh!"

I don't mean to come across as a Luddite. I'm not urging that we adopt Amish culture and lifestyle in protest against technology. All of us both benefit from high-tech and depend on it. The protest here is against being at its mercy or becoming addicted to it. The trick is to master it rather than being mastered by it.

It isn't unchristian to have boundaries.
TV, radio, Internet, telephone, e-mail, tweets — not one of them has the right to intrude into your life. If I pick up the phone by reflex only to hear a sales, survey, or voting pitch, I simply hang up without explanation or defensiveness. (They have a manipulative counter ready for anyone who begins to explain why "I'm not really interested" in their product, issue, or candidate.) Last week I told an abusive e-mailer to write as often as he wished — with the awareness I would not open any more of his missives. It isn't unchristian to have boundaries.

You don't have to trash technology in order to get balance into your life, but you will need to learn to let it serve you rather than bedevil you.

"I have the right to do anything," you say — but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything" — but I will not be mastered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12 TNIV).