Sermon quotes on distraction

Jon Bloom

Distraction, at least the dangerous kind I’m referring to, is shifting our attention from something of greater importance to something of lesser importance. Our fundamental and most dangerous problem in distraction is in being distracted from God — our tendency to shift our attention orientation from the greatest Object in existence to countless lesser ones. The Bible calls this idolatry.

Article, “Lord, Deliver Me from Distraction.”

Nicholas G. Carr

What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

Nicholas Carr

We want to be interrupted, because each interruption brings us a valuable piece of information. To turn off these alerts is to risk feeling out of touch, or even socially isolated.

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

Winston S. Churchill

You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.

John Donne

I throw myself down in my chamber, and I call in and invite God and his angels thither, and when they are there, I neglect God and his angels, for the noise of a fly, for the rattling of a coach, for the whining of a door. A memory of yesterday’s pleasures, a fear of tomorrow’s dangers, a straw under my knees, a noise in my ear, a light in my eye, an anything, a nothing, a fancy, a chimera in my brain, troubles me in my prayers.

T. S. Eliot

Distracted from distraction by distraction

Four Quartets, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, p.19.


Money cannot purchase joy. It buys temporary distractions.

Winston S. Churchill

You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.

C.S. Lewis

If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.

Sermon: “Learning in Wartime”, 1939.

C.S. Lewis

The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

The Screwtape Letters, 1941.

Thomas Merton

If you have never had any distractions you don’t know how to pray.

On Christian Contemplation, New Directions Publishing 2012 p.27.


A gladiator’s first distraction is his last.

Scott Stabile

We rarely find answers in the distractions. But oh what possibilities live within the quiet of solitude.

In my fear to be alone,

I distracted myself away from

the deep beauty of my own solitude.

C.S. Lewis

“It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.”

The Screwtape Letters

Ruth Haley Barton

One of the dangers of living in a constant state of distraction is that we never go to the bottom of our pain, our sadness, our emptiness, which means we never find that rock-bottom place of the peace that passes understanding and rest ourselves there.

Taken from Invitation to Retreat: The Gift and Necessity of Time Away with God by Ruth Haley Barton Copyright (c) 2018 by Ruth Haley Barton. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Andrew Sullivan

Modernity slowly weakened spirituality, by design and accident, in favor of commerce; it downplayed silence and mere being in favor of noise and constant action. The reason we live in a culture increasingly without faith is not because science has somehow disproved the unprovable, but because the white noise of secularism has removed the very stillness in which it might endure or be reborn…. If the churches came to understand that the greatest threat to faith today is not hedonism but distraction, perhaps they might begin to appeal anew to a frazzled digital generation.

“I Used to Be a Human Being.”

Cory Doctorow

The biggest impediment to concentration is your computer’s ecosystem of interruption technologies: IM, email alerts, RSS alerts, Skype rings, etc. Anything that requires you to wait for a response, even subconsciously, occupies your attention. Anything that leaps up on your screen to announce something new, occupies your attention.

“Writing in the Age of Distraction”, Locus Magazine, January 2009.

William Irvine

There is a danger that you will mislive—that despite all your activity, despite all the pleasant diversions you might have enjoyed while alive, you will end up living a bad life. There is, in other words, a danger that when you are on your deathbed, you will look back and realize that you wasted your one chance at living. Instead of spending your life pursuing something genuinely valuable, you squandered it because you allowed yourself to be distracted by the various baubles life has to offer.

A Guide to the Good Life

C.S. Lewis

An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula.

The Screwtape Letters

Addison D. Bevere

We were created for goodness and perfection. That’s why we innovate, progress, and change. But if our progress loses its purpose, it cannibalizes our humanity, leaving us distracted and disoriented.

Saints: Becoming More Than “Christians,” Revell, 2020.

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