Friday, June 13, 2014

Book Series: Women Living Well - Chapter 4

The Effects of the Media Revolution

    (Social) media has undoubtedly transformed our society. It's absolutely remarkable how quickly that change has occurred! An extensive sociological study of society could easily be conducted by simply using Facebook alone. Information sharing and social interactions are not what they once were! The various media forms have had both a negative and positive impact on myself and my walk with Christ. 

List all of the various media forms you use or encounter in a typical day both inside and outside of your home.

     We are surrounded by various forms of media- traditional (television, radio, newspapers, and magazines etc.) and modern/digital (computers, iPods, iPads, eReaders, and cell phones (especially smartphones) etc. There is also a strong presence of social media (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, blog sites etc.). Many of these are daily components of life. We associate with our gadgets throughout the day without much thought. 

       Despite the proliferation and normality of technology and gadgets in modern life, I've desired to maintain a simpler kind of life. Within our home is a television set, but no broadcast service. I own an inexpensive laptop computer that I purchased for myself five years ago. It's a beast compared to the newer and slimmer styles available now. My husband and I each have basic cell phones without data packages or internet connection. (He does have a Blackberry for work). The gadgets have just not held much appeal to me. 

       Media's appeal has struck me in the form of social media, however. I, of course, enjoy writing on this blog page. I also frequent sites like Facebook, Pinterest, other blog sites etc. I also have an Etsy and Ebay shop. To me, that's plenty of avenues for media's entrance into my life each day!

How have modern media devices distracted you from your walk with Christ? 
Have they helped in any way? Describe their effects below, both the negative and the positive.

         Modern media devices can serve to encourage one's walk with Christ, but it can also detract from it. For instance, media can display a faith-based encouragement or reminder.  
Quotes set against a beautiful background image is the quickest way to spread a message on sites like Facebook. This can only have a momentary presence though. There must be more to my walk with Christ than a quick and convenient worded image. How often do I see or share that image without stopping to truly contemplate it's meaning (or often times, research it's truth!)? The danger is becoming a Christian that is well-versed in all those quotes and sayings, yet lost in knowing the Word or character of Christ himself. These quick bits of faith should always serve only to inspire me to seek Him deeper. 

       In order to seek Him fully, I must also seek to limit or eliminate distractions. Modern media poses a tremendous distraction to me! I'm so easily sucked in! Media loudly beckons for my time, attention and even heart/character. "I don't have time for/to..." is a common assertion. I've said it countless times. Truth is, if a timer began counting every time a media device was in use, then the mystery of the daily lost time would be solved. How much time would be counted just for the television, computer or cell phone being on and/or used each day? I guarantee the total would be shocking. For me, I realize that I would have much more time and attention to be devoted to God if I put down the cell phone, shut off the television, and close the computer. 

     Conversely, modern media can also have a positive effect on my walk with Christ. They can break through geographical barriers to make connecting with like-minded people possible or listening to specific speakers or preachers. It can also be a means of filling the home with pleasant music. These are wonderful resources! (I shared a few of my favorites the post, "Selecting Background Noise for the Home")

What about the ways media has strengthened or hurt your friendships? Can you name a time where a relationship with someone was either damaged or fortified by a modern media form?

     It's fascinating the extent to which (social) media has completely transformed social behavior and interaction! Thoughts that were previously considered too impolite to voice are now boldly exclaimed. Insecurities and boastfulness are displayed for all to see. Phone calls and in-person visits have given way to wall posts. Conversations now include phrases like, "Did you see on Facebook...." As Courtney said in Chapter 4 of the book, "Media is amoral. In and of itself it is neither good nor evil. It is our use of it that determines its morality" (pg. 37). Depending on ouruse, social media can both strengthen and damage relationships. 

     Facebook emerged while I was in college. I resisted the trend, and by the end of that year of college felt as though I was the only one without a Facebook profile (and this was when Facebook was for college students only)!  I transferred schools at the end of that year, and found value in the site as a means of staying connected to the friends I had made at that university. I still enjoy using Facebook as a means of staying connected to friends and family at a distance. After all, it's not like we're in the same town and could physically get together. 

     However, I've recently observed that same usage for individuals that are local to me. Despite living in the same town and having access to one another, we permit interaction to be limited to media devices. Simply take a look through the Facebook friends list of individuals who are local and then think of when you two last purposefully got together. Shocking, isn't it? Interacting through (social) media when you have the opportunity to interact in person is a poor trade. We (uh hem..I) can do better than this! I've contemplated limiting my Facebook friends to those who are at a distance, and thereby challenging myself to not be lazy but make that investment of meeting in person with those who are local. 

      This isn't the only way in which (social) media has strengthened and/or damaged relationships. There are many, many ways in which relationships have been positively and negatively impacted. 

Read John 15:4-5. What do you think it means to “remain” or “abide” in Christ and have Him do the same to us?

John 15:4-5

English Standard Version (ESV)
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (Source: BibleGateway)

     The verses are describing a close union, in purpose and/or spirit. To abide in Christ is to act or live in accordance to his teachings. As we abide in Him, he remains in us through the demonstration of His qualities within us. 

What are we promised if we are careful to do this? 
     Verse 5 states, "he it is that bears much fruit." The term fruit is also used in Galatians, and includes the following qualities: "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (source: BibleGateway). If we abide in, or live in accordance to Christ's teachings, then we will come to demonstrate His qualities. 

Take time now to whisper an earnest and honest prayer asking God to help you learn to remain in Him despite the media distractions of today. 

1 comment:

  1. Great Post! Thanks for such encouraging words.

    Nontie (visiting from A Victorious Woman of Faith:


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