Cumberland Times-News

March 13, 2008

Sensor may help with getting us to church

David Sandvick, Columnist

And now from the "Do we really need this" department. It seems the sports companies, Adidas and Nike, are coming out with a cell phone coach called MiCoach. According to a recent article by the AP, "the device directs and motivates users during workouts by combining a mobile phone, heart rate monitor, stride sensor, MP3 player and the voice of an electronic personal coach.''

It works like this: The runner places a sensor in his/her shoe and connects a heart monitor to a cell phone that will shout words of encouragement to the runner through ear-buds. This new technology replaces the current system of runner motivation that is the little voice in your head that tells you a bowl of ice cream is waiting when you complete your workout. With my luck, I'd have a smart aleck MiCoach shouting things like "I knew you couldn't do it!" Or, "You can start any time now" after running for half a mile.

I do find it amazing that there is a market for this kind of thing and I wish for a similar sensor to monitor our relationship with God. Imagine lying in bed on Sunday morning when a voice in your head says, "Come on, you can do it! Get in the shower now and you can still make it to church!"

It could encourage us to pray more, be kinder to others, and offer assistance to the needy. But, for now, we'll have to rely on the simple truth that these are all good things to do and just do them.

The only thing I would worry about with this new exercise gadget is that I might connect the wrong wire to the wrong piece of equipment, thus using my sneaker to fax my medical history to Richard Simmons' ipod. Well, I have to go. I just heard a voice in my head that said I could have some ice cream if I finished this column.

David Sandvick is the pastor of First English Baptist Church in Frostburg.