Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

11 February 2009

The Internet... Porn cave or Temple?


According to the Telegraph in the UK, here is how a teenager's Internet time breaks down:

  • 31 hours a week online
  • two hours a week looking at pornography
  • three and a half hours communicating with friends on MSN (Facebook)
  • two hours on YouTube and in chat rooms
  • Just over an hour is devoted to looking up cosmetic surgery procedures
  • an hour and a half is spent on family planning and pregnancy websites
  • one hour 35 minutes is spent investigating diets and weight loss.
  • at least three hours a week spent searching for information for homework

I remember when ICQ became popular many many many years ago. It was before me and Krissy even had a computer (we didn't get one until 2001 or 2002), but we spent quite a bit of time over at the house of the couple with whom we did youth ministry. And after youth group ended at night, the kids all went home and jumped on ICQ. And so would we. It became an extension of the night. They started chatting with each other about what had just happened... who they liked... who they HATED. Not being a "computer guy", I was amazed at the amount of exposition that took place... chatting on a computer after church.

I remember going to ministry seminars about how to use this new culture... about it's pluses and pitfalls. But in 2009... technology is not novel or a fad anymore. It's just simply a major part of how we interact in our world. It's A (if not THE) method of learning and communicating. And there are still pluses and pitfalls.

But what you can't argue... is it's staying presence. And we need to be right there in the mix of the conversation. Being a Jew to the Jew and a Greek to the Greek. I'm not really concerned that brother hymnal thinks that Satan's machines are tainting the temple. His grand kids live in that machine. And they're either going to watch porn for hours, type foul text gibberish to people who will drag them down, and find out how to get boob jobs... or they could find a friend with an encouraging word... right there in their "secret place". A place that could either be a porn cave... or a temple, depending on the next click.

My "secret place", where I read my Bible and pray, is now in front of my laptop on Biblegateway.com. Really. It let's me write out my thoughts... cross reference scripture... do word studies... read commenaties... see how The Message says it. I love it. And having God drop a friend into my heart and emailing them a word of encourgement is a quick, easy process. I love it.

There actually are some cool things about Internet chatting. I remember reading that John Lennon and Yoko Ono used to fight by telephone. Even in separate rooms in the house on the phone. It allowed each of them to keep their cool and get to the heart of issues so that they could be resolved. Internet chatting can be like that. People often tell you more about what's really going on when they don't have to look you in the face. Now...

... this is really only effective if you ALSO have a real life relationship with that person so that you can't just bail on a discussion and retreat into the porn cave when things get tough. It's truly amazing to me that Barack Obama is the first American president who will have a computer and use email. Honestly. It's not so much that the president will have much time for facebooking the constituents... but it's just the understanding of how people think, learn and speak.

Go into ALL the world and preach the gospel, making disciples includes the Internet these days like it or not. 31 hours a week is more than a whole day... and I'd hazard a guess that it's a perspectively highly influential day.

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