Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

In a series of thoughtful articles entitled “A Web of Wisdom” Jeremy Walker introduces and answers two key questions Christians must address about their involvement in social media (if you don’t know what that is, he even explains terms such as Web 2.0).

Question #1: May I and should I engage in social media?

Question #2: If I may engage, how must I do so?

Start here.

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Tim Challies admonishes us to look at our on-line social media activity and evaluate our hearts today:

“Facebook keeps track of the name of every person you’ve searched for, every status update, every comment on another person’s status, every photo you’ve liked, every friend you’ve made. Taking a look at this list makes for a helpful social media heart-check.

I’d encourage you to take just a few moments to do this heart-check. Here’s how to begin . . .

He then goes on to walk us step-by-step on how to review all of our comments and updates, all the people we have searched for, etc.  He concludes

Social media gives us some very helpful opportunities and abilities, but it is also a powerful reflector of what is going on in the heart. Don’t run away from the opportunity to probe a little bit!

Check out how to do your own social media heart check right here.

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Pastor Kevin DeYoung has written a two part article on how modern technology that allows us to be connected all the time can have a deleterious influence on our souls.  He addresses three dangers he sees and has encountered personally:  the danger of addiction, acedia, and never being alone.  An excerpt:

In his bestselling book The Shallows, Nicholas Carr reflects on how his attitude toward the web has changed. In 2005—the year he says the “Web went 2.0″—he found the digital experience exhilarating. He loved how blogging junked the traditional publishing apparatus. He loved the speed of the internet, the ease, the hyperlinks, the search engines, the sound, the videos, everything.

But then, he recalls, “a serpent of doubt slithered into my infoparadise” (15). He realized that the Net had control over his life in a way his traditional PC never did. His habits were changing, morphing to accommodate a digital way of life. He became dependent on the internet for information and stimulation. He found his ability to pay attention declining. “At first I’d figured that the problem was a symptom of middle-age mind rot. But my brain, I realized, wasn’t just drifting. It was hungry. It was demanding to be fed the way the Net fed it—and the more it was fed, the hungrier it became. Even when I was away from my computer, I yearned to check e-mail, click links, do some Googling. I wanted to beconnected” (16).

I’ve noticed the same thing happening to me for the past few years. Unless I’m really in a groove, I can’t seem to work for more than twenty minutes without getting the urge to check my email, glance at a blog, or get caught up on Twitter. It’s a terrible feeling. In a postscript to The Shallows, Carr explains that after his book came out he heard from dozens of people (usually by email) who wanted to share their own stories of how the Web had “scattered their attention, parched their memory, or turned them into compulsive nibblers of info-snacks.” One college senior sent Carr a long note describing how he had struggled “with a moderate to major form of Internet addiction” since the third grade. “I am unable to focus on anything in a deep or detailed manner” the student wrote. “The only thing my mind can do, indeed the only thing it wants to do, is plug back into that distracted frenzied blitz of online information.” He confessed this, even thought he was sure that “the happiest and most fulfilled times of my life have all involved a prolonged separation from the Internet” (226). Many of us are simply overcome—hour after hour, day after day—by the urge to connect online. And as Christians we know that “whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19).

Part 1 and Part 2

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The next greatest gizmo

In light of the unveiling of Apple’s latest tablet the Ipad mini, Tim Challies muses:

“Whenever the next great device is unveiled it comes with promises that it will bring with it a higher quality of life. It will bring greater satisfaction and greater contentment. It will increase efficiency and double productivity. Whatever it brings will be good. It has to be this way, right? Why else would we allow it into our lives?

Our gadgets reflect our priorities. Apple’s job—and Microsoft’s and Google’s and every other company’s—is to just give us what we want. They feed us these devices and convince us that our lives will immediately be that much better. But is this actually the case? Do they really make us more productive? Do they really help us accomplish more? . . .

There is always a hidden cost to the things we allow into our lives. As these things bring us new ways to get things done, they also bring us more things that we need to do. Even as they claim to be able to help us get organized in life, to get more efficient in life, they also raise the expectations and raise the pace of life. With every great benefit, there is always at least one great drawback. Such is life, and such is technology, on this side of the Fall.

Keep reading.

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Well, OK, there aren’t apps that can actually pray for you.  But there are apps that can help organize your requests.  Tim Challies writes:

“As long as there have been notebooks and index cards, Christians have been using them as a means of organizing their prayer requests. Without some form of organization, most of us pray only for what is urgent, leaving out those things that do not so easily come to mind. With mobile phones and other digital devices has come a wave of apps that seek to take the place of notebooks. Here are three iPhone apps that are meant to assist in prayer.”

Check out “Praying with Your iPhone” for more info.

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Luke Gilkerson documents 7 dangers are children face as they log on to the internet.  Parents should read this and take appropriate pre-cautions.

Note this was part two of a four part series–the remaining links can be found by clicking forward or backward on the arrows at the tope of the article.

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Some wise words and helpful questions from Nicole Whitacre

Our online habits can make us spiritually nearsighted. Worse than that, they can make us so nearsighted that we become spiritually blind. That’s what it says in 2 Peter 1:5-9:

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” 

The promise of the Internet is that it will open our eyes to new worlds. It is supposed to make us more connected, more efficient, more knowledgable. And it can! But this verse tells us that the opposite can also happen. There is a very real danger that instead of learning more, we may know less. Instead of loving more we may love less. Instead of remembering more we may remember less.

As we stare at our computer screens, we may be going spiritually blind.

So let’s pull out this Scriptural straight edge and measure: Do my online habits make me more or less effective in my knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Do the articles and websites I read online make me more virtuous?

Does the time I spend on Facebook result in more brotherly affection and love for others? 

Does my activity on Pinterest make me more self-controlled?

Do my tweets help me and others grow in steadfast faith and endurance? 

Do my online habits contribute to a greater knowledge of God’s Word?   

If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, then our Internet use may be making us ineffective or unfruitful in our knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. It may be causing us to forget that we were cleansed from our past sins. With every click and view, we may be going blind to the gospel.

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