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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Think (09/02/10)

TITLE: What Would Jesus Tweet?
By Theresa Santy
09/08/10


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Nearly every sort of thought, expression, or image that exists in the world today is accessible within a few clicks. Capabilities of mass communication are increasing at a head-spinning rate and soon, no form of private activity will be protected or held precious. Only a hermit living in a cabin in the woods, separated from media and related technologies (assuming there is no satellite pointed in the wood-dweller’s direction set up for the purpose of broadcasting a reality show about an unsuspecting hermit) is immune to the impact from these advances.

We can run, but we would simply die tired. Unrestrained exposure is upon us.

The influence of media and related technologies is impressive. Who can truly comprehend the unspeakable abilities of today’s technology to aid human interaction, sharing, instruction, and inspiration? Regularly, these powers are used for purposes of manipulation and exploitation. Often they are used for positive influence and at times these two opposing forces seem to balance one another out.

Imagine however, what the entire media and mass communication landscape would look like, what the world would look like, if that power were harnessed by humanity using critical thought and intentional actions which aligned these energies toward the will of God.

Critical thought is a gift, a most glorious blessing that should not be wasted. It’s time to turn the power on. This is the moment, the test, the valley we shall walk through along with our children and their children to determine if we can be in the world and not of the world.

Typically, one person does not have the ability to alter the habits of all the people of all the societies of the entire world. What each person does have however is the absolute power to change his or her individual habits, which may encourage the habits of family, friends, and acquaintances.

Within every human interaction with media and related technologies is an opportunity to glorify God by questioning the substance of messages sent and received. Each instance provides the chance to discover sources of truth and sources of manipulation, to discern between that which should be shared and that which should be kept private, and to concentrate on actions which have potential to comfort and lift up our neighbors, the needy, and the lost.

Our young children will help drive the next wave of communication, culture, and media trends and so must not be ignored. This is the time to teach our children how to navigate this severe, wild, and fantastic landscape. Young brains are still forming and are well-suited for critical thinking exercises. A toddler may be captivated by a television commercial, for example, and may believe all varieties of advertising tricks. A parent could help the toddler engage in critical thought by asking the child, “Do you suppose if we bought the little dump truck, it would arrive with all the magnificent sounds and surrounding piles of mud and dirt?”

Wisdom can be ignited throughout a child’s growing years with questions like: What is the purpose of the message being sent? Who’s behind the message and what bias does that bring? What are the truths found within the message? What are the tricks used? How does the message align with family boundaries, faith, and the will of God? What benefit did (that reality show star) receive while he lived free from righteousness that he may be ashamed of later? How much effort do you suppose went into the looks of the girl on that magazine cover? What do you believe her life is like? What are the differences between tangible human interaction and social media? If Jesus tweeted, what sort of message do you suppose he would fit within one hundred and forty characters?

It’s crucial that we spend a great deal of time with our children, remain interactive with them through and beyond adulthood, and show them they are important and loved. It’s imperative that we encourage them to love Christ with all their hearts, souls, and minds. In today’s technology-driven social climate we must also act as media and social technology role models by utilizing our critical thinking skills and teaching our children to do the same. In this manner we will gain knowledge and competence, decrease our risk being manipulated and instead, and increase our ability to harness technology resources with purpose.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Amanda Brogan09/10/10
Technology can be used for great harm or for great good. As Christians, we should use it as a tool in reaching others and (as you said) teaching our children how to use it properly. Great message!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/10/10
You make some great points. I remember when my 2 yo son knew more about the computer than I did. I thought we were giving him an advantage. But realized we needed to do more when he couldn't draw a picture of himself for his first day of school. It was a good lesson about balance for me.
Edmond Ng 09/16/10
I concur with you in the same line of thought about what technology can do for us in serving God and reaching the world for Christ through online networking.
Jan Ackerson 09/23/10
Theresa, I'm going to feature this thought-provoking essay on the Front Page showcase for the week of October 4. Look for it on the FaithWriters home page--and congratulations!