Discernment, Discipline, and The Digital Media
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, etc. These are the words that define the digital media. Almost every person I know are into these digital frenzies. Obviously, I write blogs and tweet my activities. Ed Stetzer, in his talk The Brave New World of New Media, believes that “the social media is not a toy or a fad, but it’s a fundamental cultural shift in the way that men and women communicate”1. “The digital revolution is here to stay,” says Albert Mohler in his conference message The Hypersocialized Generation2. (By the way, you may watch Stetzer’s and Mohler’s talks online. Click here to watch).
While these new media pose a wide array of opportunities for Christians and the church in the advancement of God’s kingdom, it also present adverse effects. And if we are not discerning and disciplined enough, we may fall into its traps. So as Christians, what should we do about it? I have been studying digital (or social) media for the past few days and how it affects Christians these days. Now, I’m going to write my own thoughts on it.
So What About Discernment?
When I first heard of Twitter last year, it caught my interest fast. I saw it in the form of widgets embedded in the blog sites of different bloggers. Also, I heard about it in CNN. So I registered an account and began tweeting. However, I find it hard to maintain so I had to drop it. (Now, I’m back, using it for micro-blogging). I guess I was a victim of the bandwagon.
Joining Twitter a year ago was done without much thought. Discernment have become a neglected value nowadays. People join the digital revolution mindlessly. We immerse into many forms of new media without considering its benefits and consequences. We have joined the bandwagon.
I was contemplating on making a Facebook account. Yes, I still don’t have one. But every time I ask my trusted friends about this idea, they would advice me that it is really not helpful at all, at least in their own experience. And while I believe that there are many opportunities to bring forth God’s kingdom to the people in Facebook, the friends who have given the advice are trusted and matured in the faith. I simply cannot neglect their wise counsel.
So my question is, What is the place of discernment in our lives, particularly in the aspect of the use of digital or social media? Do we carefully consider the benefits and the negative effects of entering the world of digital media? Is it really helpful at all? Most importantly, will we really glorify God as we use these new forms of media?
I have a confession to make. I planned to finish this blog last Sunday. But I was caught up with fantasy basketball. With this, people get to make and manage their own basketball teams online, with players in real-life. Thus, the word fantasy. The statistics of every player in real-life are reflected on these fantasy teams, and are totaled and compared to another fantasy team’s. Whoever has more statistics gets the point.
Anyway, I didn’t realize that I have already spent four hours playing fantasy basketball. I could’ve done this blog earlier. I could’ve done something else productive. I was undisciplined in the use of my time.
Many of my friends claim that they’re having difficulty in limiting their Facebook log time. They spent hours posting and tagging and playing. Facebook has become their addiction. That’s a reason I’m still not in Facebook (Yes, I still don’t have an account).
Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV) says:
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (emphasis added)
Are we making the best use of our time? How much time do we spend in Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of digital or social media? More importantly, are we not neglecting things that really matter? Are we still devoting time in studying the Scripture, and in praying for others, and in engaging in face-to-face conversations, and immersing into life-to-life relationships?
We must redeem the time that we have lost. Let’s make the best use of our time.
About Enzo CortesEnzo Cortes is the Youth Coordinator of Jzone Makati, the youth ministry of Christ's Commission Fellowship (CCF) Makati. He also speaks for various youth and young adult groups, including CCF Makati's young singles ministry, Friday Night Light. He loves to write, read books and blogs, drink coffee, and watch MMA fights.
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