An engaging and insightful article by Jerome Gay Jr. from The Resurgence discussing the dangers of social media. Here are some of the dangers of social media (facebook, twitter) that he points out:
- In a world of Facebook status updates and 140-character one-liners, it’s easy for us to drift further and further into an electronic personality and identity void of authenticity.
- Our Facebook and Twitter profiles matter more to us than who we really are. The question is, do our Facebook and Twitter identities match what’s in our hearts?
- More and more people are rejecting the rewards of interacting with people face-to-face and venting every issue and belief via the World Wide Web. Upset spouses argue via their status updates, friends take shots at each other on Twitter at-replies, and in-laws use the term “people” to describe everything they hate about the spouse of their son or daughter. With one click the whole world knows that you’re either single, interested or in a “complicated” situation.
- Behind a computer, passive people suddenly become aggressive experts on humanity.
Admittedly, not everyone struggles with every one of those dangers. However, as for myself, even struggling with one or two of those dangers was more than enough for me to give it up for lent in order to check my heart and reorient my focus on the gospel. In any case, this is what Gay concludes:
The end result of this evasion of confrontation and embracing the “e-reality” is that we’ll become more obsessed with how many retweets and likes we get versus actually being the people God has called us to be. We show ourselves as great dads on Twitter, but are too busy to listen to our children because our heads are glued to our phones seeing who looked at our pictures and reposted our updates. We’ll put up a post on missions without actually engaging people with the gospel. We’ll be great spouses on the web, but terrible ones in person.
Tim Challies discussing the importance of the genealogy that’s placed at the end of the book of Ruth. Without the postscript/genealogy, the story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz is still a remarkable story of the providence of God, love, and persevance. With the postscript/genealogy, the story becomes bigger than itself and points to and anticipates a greater story, something we have the benefit of hindsight of fully enjoying. Here are Challies’ words:
That is Ruth without a postscript. There is a lot we can learn. But as it happens, there is a postscript that begins to show God’s fulfillment of even greater promises. And we see that the author has one final, parting shot. It comes in a strange form—the form of genealogy—a list of names of fathers and sons. Those verses essentially say, “Oh, by the way, this little baby, this little boy…it’s the grandfather of the great king, David.” This isn’t just any baby. Obed was the father of Jesse, the father of David, the king.
… And when you understand that, the story just explodes in meaning and significance. Now we see it—the true need, the true famine, the true fullness, the true Naomi, the true Boaz, the true heir, the true Son, the true redeemer. It is Jesus who is the great surprise at the end of this story, the great climax to the tale, the great hero, the greatest answer to all the prayers and longings, the deepest answer to the deepest need. It’s all about him.
While I discuss the dangers of making assumptions amongst each other here, Aaron Armstrong talks about the danger of presuming/assuming anything about God. After pointing out the parable of the ten minas in Luke 19:12-27 to highlight the dangers of having a presumptuous attitude towards God, Armstrong makes these points:
Here’s the big idea—When we make assumptions about the character of God, and we fail to repent of our false assumptions, we show that we do not truly know God at all.
This is a very scary thought, isn’t it?
We know what God is like, because He has revealed Himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ, and in the pages of Scripture.
But we don’t think He’s actually who He says He is. Think about it:
If we truly believed that He is loving, we wouldn’t shake our fists at the sky every time we get dumped on in life.
If we truly believe that He is good, we wouldn’t continually try to obey because we’re afraid of punishment.
If we truly believed that He is holy, we wouldn’t simply accept sin in our lives as often as we do.
From the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (which is ran by The Family Research Council), this research document lists 162 reasons which spans various topics on why people should get married. Before listing the 162 reasons, the authors reveal their hopes and rationale behind such a study:
With fewer than half our children now reaching the end of childhood in an intact married family, it will be good for all adolescents to learn again and again that an intact married life is a great good to aim for. If they are clear on the goal, they may be motivated to reach it. Just as the children who grew up in the Great Depression became the wealthiest generation in history, maybe we can hope that the children who experienced so much rejection between their parents will become the greatest generation of parents who belong to each other in lifelong marriage.
The future strength of our nation depends on good marriages to yield strong revenues, good health, low crime, high education, and high human capital. As the following enumeration shows, smart parents and smart societies pay attention to the state and strength of marriage.
Laura Ortberg Turner, a guest blogger for Her.meneutics, on why she gave up Vogue magazine for Lent (psst – it goes far beyond than the magazine itself):
More than wanting certain things, I had grown to want a certain lifestyle. It wasn’t just the $400 cashmere throws or gorgeous jackets that cost ten times our monthly rent. It was that I wanted a lifestyle that would provide me with whatever I want, whenever I wanted it. I grew to believe that this lifestyle would provide real security, especially against the anxiety that I’ve struggled with most of my life. If anxiety could be measured in units, I would simply buy them away, one boutique purchase at a time. After all, the people in the glossy pages of these magazines looked so happy! So contented by their overstuffed white furniture and handmade leather boots and month-long trips to the Amalfi Coast. If I could just have what they had, surely I would be happier, more at peace.
And now, I know why not coveting is important enough to have made it into the Ten Commandments. It will eat away at your heart. Nothing (and more importantly, no one) will ever be good enough for you, because you live in a world that doesn’t exist. Coveting is the business of, as my mom has often said, comparing your insides to someone else’s outsides.