My Dumb Phone, Avoiding Mis- and Disinformation, and the Dawning of the Metaverse — Points of Interest  for March 28, 2022

Dru Johnson: Spiritual Lessons from My Dumb Phone

Despite much evidence that our use of smartphones is really REALLY bad for us, many – and I include myself – struggle to consistently manage our usage. Articles like one from an early adopter of reversing the current trends are helpful. Check out the whole thing and challenge yourself to make real changes.

“Scripture commands weekly stillness—Sabbath. Our bodies are designed for the daily stillness of sleep, where we trust the sovereignty of God to uphold all things together… And yet, my phone was becoming my main source of mental burden. It’s always on.

The number one benefit for me [of switching to a ‘dumb phone’] became clarity of mind and time to think. A month in and I feel much more coherent in my own headspace. After my body fully realized that there’s no need to pull out my phone for anything, I began attending to smells, sounds, and sights more than before. My prayers have also increased, and more in the mode of intercession than pleading for personal favors… In unremarkable ways, moving to a low-tech phone eased my terror of stillness by forcing quiet into a dozen little junctures of my day.”

Patrick Miller: How to Avoid Misinformation and Disinformation Online

Wedded to our smartphone usage is our obsession with social media. This combination of hardware and software is dominating our lives. Many seem hopelessly addicted. Take note…

“Every social media algorithm is designed to pinpoint successful posts (i.e., posts that attract engagement such as comments, likes, or shares) and put them in front of as many people as possible. This keeps users on the platform longer, which means more ad revenue. Emotionally gripping posts are great for business. Who cares if they’re true?”

“‘I can’t trust anything’ cynicism is not the answer to the abundance of untruth online. Instead, we must love truth by seeking it out. Christians should be known as those who seek to understand context in the face of decontextualization, who seek truth in the face of disinformation.”

Gene Veith: The Goal Is to Make the Metaverse our “Primary” Reality

You may be hearing talk of the “metaverse”. If you’re not sure what the metaverse is, there’s some good info here. The following quote is from a board member of Mark Zuckerberg’s company, Marc Andreessen:

“Reality has had 5,000 years to get good, and is clearly still woefully lacking for most people; I don’t think we should wait another 5,000 years to see if it eventually closes the gap. We should build — and we are building — online worlds that make life and work and love wonderful for everyone, no matter what level of reality deprivation they find themselves in.”

This is frightening stuff. We already know that living virtually is destroying our humanity and yet our digital overlords are intent on making our use constant and all-encompassing. Will we go along?

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Michael Krahn is the Lead Pastor of the EMMC church in Aylmer, Ontario, where he has served for the last 13 years. He has been married to Anne Marie for almost 27 years and together they have three daughters (19,18,15). You can find more of Michael’s writing at www.michaelkrahn.com or connect on social media at @Michael_G_Krahn (Twitter), pastor.michael.krahn (IG), and Michael.George.Krahn (Fb)

Photo by julien Tromeur on Unsplash

Missionaries in Ukraine, Failing With Screentime, and “Doing Business” With the World – Points of Interest for March 21, 2022

Vasyl Ostryi: To Stay and Serve – Why We Didn’t Flee Ukraine

Here is a first-hand account from missionaries on the ground in Ukraine.

“We have decided to stay, both as a family and as a church. When this is over, the citizens of Kyiv will remember how Christians have responded in their time of need… We will shelter the weak, serve the suffering, and mend the broken. And as we do, we offer the unshakable hope of Christ and his gospel.”

Tim Challies: When Parents Feel Like We Are Mostly Failing Most of the Time

Over the last year, I feel like I’ve made progress on managing my screen time, but every so often I realize that I’ve fallen into the same bad habits. Does it work the same way for you? We also struggle to manage our kids’ screentime, and in this article, Tim Challies tells us why that is. 

“Most of us hesitate to properly manage our children’s use of their devices at least in part because we don’t care to manage our own. There’s nothing intrinsic to being a parent that gives you the right to watch endless amounts of YouTube while capping your kids at a half hour. Though we hate to admit it, much of our children’s behavior is learned behavior. If you want to know who they’ve learned it from, you should probably start with the person in the mirror.”

Robert Rothwell: Can Christians “Do Business” with the World?

I’m seeing some church leaders promoting a separate Christian marketplace or numerous Christian “micro-economies” to remove and protect the church from the world and its systems. While this might seem to have some merit on the surface, and while we should indeed distance ourselves from obvious evil and we do business, these ideas don’t seem to hold up in light of scripture. There are several good quotes below, but the whole article is worth reading. 

“Paul’s clarification on the matter shows that he does not want us to remove ourselves from the world. He wants us to associate with sinners—not in endorsing or joining in their sin, but in making ourselves available to them so that they can hear the gospel… Therefore, because we are not to separate from the world into a Christian ghetto, we have to participate in the world’s economy and do business with our non-Christian neighbors. There is no way around it.”

“Jesus commended the paying of taxes to the very authorities He knew would soon crucify Him. The Roman Empire was not merely non-Christian—it was anti-Christian… Since Jesus and Paul would never tell us to do anything that involves us in sin, we may deduce from these passages that Christians are not morally responsible if their tax dollars are used for sinful purposes. And if we are not morally responsible for what the government does with our tax dollars, we are certainly not responsible for what companies do with our purchasing dollars.”

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Michael Krahn is the Lead Pastor of the EMMC church in Aylmer, Ontario, where he has served for the last 13 years. He has been married to Anne Marie for almost 27 years and together they have three daughters (19,18,15). You can find more of Michael’s writing at www.michaelkrahn.com or connect on social media at @Michael_G_Krahn (Twitter), pastor.michael.krahn (IG), and Michael.George.Krahn (Fb)

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

Jordan Peterson, Deconstruction, Marvel’s Multiverse, TikTok Timeline Shifters, and the Kingdom of God – Points of Interest for January 24, 2022

Jordan Peterson, Deconstruction, Marvel’s Multiverse, TikTok Timeline Shifters, and the Kingdom of God – Points of Interest for January 24, 2022

This is a weekly roundup of pieces I read on other sites around the web. Click on the titles to open the articles in a new tab. Happy reading!

Jordan Peterson: Open the damn country back up, before Canadians wreck something we can’t fix

A scathing assessment of the handling of COVID by Canada’s politicians: 

“There are no risk-free paths forward. There is only one risk, or another. Pick your poison: that’s the choice life often offers. I am weary of living under the increasingly authoritarian dictates of a polity hyper-concerned with one risk, and oblivious to all others. And things are shaking around us.”

What do you think? Is he right?

Is Deconstruction the Same as Deconversion? A Few Reflections on Reforming the Church

Deconstruction/deconversion has been an area of interest for me for many years. And I agree with the assessment made here: 

“For many, it [deconstruction] simply means that we should ask hard questions about whether the version of Christianity we are following is consistent with the Scriptures, or with historic Christian beliefs through the centuries.”

I went through a process like this myself in my 20s and I’m glad that I did. It was long, hard, and sometimes scary work, but in the end I emerged with a stronger faith.

Marvel’s Multiverse, TikTok Timeline Shifters, and the Kingdom of God

“Just as a supernova explodes a star into trillions of nebulous particles, a disenchanted world explodes the human mind into an endless, anxiety-inducing nebula of alternative selves. No one needed theoretical physicists to propose the multiverse. The modern mind was already living in one.”

If you are into quotes and quote graphics, check out my Instagram page (link below)

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Photo by Sean Thomas on Unsplash

Put Away Selfie-Centredness

Pride is putting yourself instead of God at the centre of the universe. Taking a selfie is putting yourself at the centre of the frame, of the picture, of the story. And if you do this often enough you’ll find that you cannot love God and others when all your attention is spent on yourself. That is what pride is: loving yourself with all your love and having no love left for anyone else.

In the mid-1960s Canadian intellectual and media theorist Marshall McLuhan wrote a book called “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man” where he explained that every tool and form of media was an extension or enhancement of a natural human ability. A microphone and speaker, for example, amplifies and extends the human voice. By way of these tools, a person can speak to and be heard by many more people than without. A fork is the extension of the human hand. With a fork you can pierce food and pick it up in a way you can’t with just your fingers. 

The camera came along, and it served as an extension of the eye. People began taking pictures of what they saw. Lenses were developed through which people could see much farther than they could with the naked eye. The reach of the human eye was extended by these developments in technology. 

Turning It Back on Ourselves

But think about what has happened with this particular technology over the last 10-15 years. We have camera lenses embedded in our phones. Lenses – plural – because unless you have a very old phone you have at least one camera pointed at your face. 

All of these new technologies have extended our reach. With camera technology, we’ve extended the reach of the eye, but we’ve used that extension to turn the camera back around at ourselves. Tools and technology generally allow us to reach out from ourselves to beyond ourselves, but we’ve leveraged camera technology to make it easier for us to look at ourselves. And so on some phones the camera isn’t used to capture images of the world, but images of self – selfies.

The Origins of Selfie-ism 

Are you aware of the origin of the term “selfie”? Here it is, and I quote: “On 13 September 2002, the first known use of the word selfie in any paper or electronic medium appeared in an Australian internet forum… in a [picture] post by Nathan Hope… he wrote the following: ‘Um, drunk at a mates 21st, I tripped ofer [sic] and landed lip first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.’” A fitting start to the selfie phenomenon – a drunk guy showing the world how he injured himself. 

And 18 years later, here we are. Today, if you search for the hashtag “selfie” on instagram you will be presented with over 412,000,000 posts. Apparently we really want to look at ourselves. It’s not enough to look in the mirror; we want to capture the mirror image and then look at it AND send it to other people all over the world. Taking pictures of ourselves, admiring pictures of ourselves, inviting others to admire pictures of us. 

The Selfie in Itself is Not the Problem

Now, I love cameras; I love taking pictures. I saved up all of last year to buy myself a good camera so I could take better pictures. There’s nothing wrong with taking pictures, and obviously there is no commandment against taking a picture of yourself, but what if selfies are almost the only kind of picture you take? What does that mean? Take a look at your instagram account. Is it filled with pictures of yourself? Do you think that might be an indication of a problem, of self-centredness, of narcissism?

This kind of narcissistic self-obsession is a problem for those who call themselves followers of Jesus. Of course there are many other ways to be narcissistically self-obsessed, but selfies seem to capture this phenomenon perfectly. Jesus taught us to love God and love others. Paul speaks of thinking of others more highly than yourself. 

Pride is putting yourself rather than God at the centre of the universe. What else is a selfie than putting yourself at the centre of the frame, of the picture, of the story? And if you do this often enough you’ll find that you cannot love God and others when all your attention is spent on yourself. That is what pride is, loving yourself with all your love and having no love left for anyone else.

Have your say:

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.