A Smart Dumb Phone, How Physical Health Relates to Spiritual Health, The Case for Ditching Your Phone, & More

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Dear steward,

Here’s your weekly roundup of resources and insights to help you on your journey to becoming a more productive Christian.

In Today’s Issue:

  • My latest smart/dumb phone experiment
  • The case for ditching your smartphone
  • Your physical health is a spiritual issue
  • Quote on prioritizing your life

My latest smart/dumb phone experiment

I’m trying a new way to live without a smartphone. And this idea is either brilliant or incredibly dumb. I’ll let you decide.

I recently discovered a workaround that lets me use an Apple Watch as my phone with its own number, and it doesn’t require me to use or pay for an iPhone (normally, when you setup an Apple Watch you also need to own an iPhone).

This might sound like a solution in search of a problem. But let me explain why I’m so excited about this.

It was around 2012 that I got my first smartphone. And ever since, I’ve been trying to get rid of it. But without success.

That sounds like I’m describing one of those horror stories where the protagonist keeps throwing away some cursed object, only to find it mysteriously back on their nightstand the next morning. Except in my case, there’s no evil force returning my iPhone to me (or is there?). It’s just my inability to withstand the addiction-inducing apps on my phone.

And believe me; I’ve tried everything.

  • I don’t have games on my phone
  • I don’t have social media
  • I run a VPN that blocks all distracting websites
  • I use Screen Time to limit my phone usage
  • I run the phone in black & white mode
  • And I have rules about when and where I use my phone


I constantly find the phone creeping back into my life, taking my attention away from relationships and more productive pursuits. I love technology, but I simply do not think God designed us to have our heads buried in it all the time.

Long-time readers know I’ve written more than my fair share of pieces bemoaning the stranglehold of the modern smartphone. And about 18 months ago, I tried switching to a dumb phone. But in the end, I found it just too frustrating and gave into the siren song of my iPhone (the siren song is the “Miramba” ringtone, in case you were wondering).

As I mentioned in a recent 2-part series, living in the modern world with a dumb phone sounds great until you try it. It’s not just the time-wasting stuff you miss. It’s things like GPS, using a parking meter app, capturing a quick thought, listening to podcasts, or paying for Starbucks with points.

But I think I may have found a middle ground…

I’m now paying just $10/month for a phone line that only works on my Apple Watch. The trick is to use a feature called “Family Setup.” It’s a feature Apple designed for parents who don’t want to give their kids a phone but still want to reach them.

In my case, I set my phone up it up through my wife’s phone, ported my old phone number over, and now I don’t have a phone. I only have an Apple Watch.

Some advantages of this method include:

  • No access to distracting websites or social media
  • Still have GPS
  • Can use iMessage (no cursed green bubble!)
  • Can still use your Apple ID on your other Apple products
  • Can use any app that works with Apple Watch (in my case, Drafts, Fantastical, Things 3)
  • Apple Pay even still works

The disadvantages are obvious too. No web browser and lots of apps don’t work or are very limited on the Watch. And most notably, you do not have an amazing camera in your pocket always. But I’m usually with my wife or someone else with a phone when we are doing anything photo worthy anyway. So I’m not too worried about that one. And the lack of access to apps and the web browser I count as advantages in my quest to be more focused and present.

I’ll keep you apprised of how the experiment goes. I’m considering doing a video about it and including a step-by-step tutorial. Let me know if that would be interesting to you!

The best links I found this week

The Case for Ditching Your Smartphone (from Someone Who Has Never Owned One) (8 mins)

Dave Strunk / Mere Orthodoxy

“I turn 40 years old later this year and I’ve never owned a smartphone. I am a technological anachronism: a living, breathing social experiment in 2023 America.”

I really enjoyed this article. And it was the final nudge I needed to try the new phone experiment I described above.

One of my favorite lines:

“Everybody needs a point at which they say ‘no’ to tech inevitability.”

Everyone draws the line somewhere. And based on the research on phone addiction and the discussions I’m having, it seems to me that more and more believers are growing convinced they should have drawn it a bit sooner for themselves.

Your Physical Health is a Spiritual Issue (4 mins)

Craig Thompson

This was a helpful but convicting read.

“We often try to separate our physical health from our spiritual health. But, just as we cannot separate our sexual health and decisions from our spiritual health, the truth is that we cannot separate our physical health from our spiritual health.”

Quote of the Week

“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” – Greg McKeown

Final Word

Praying you have a blessed (and productive) rest of your week!

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