If you can join us for “Parenting in a Digital Age” Saturday at 9:00a, please let Julie know so she can plan refreshments more accurately. All are welcome — we just put “parenting” in the title because, honestly, with regard to my own kids, I didn’t protect them well enough. But we think this thing will benefit anyone who comes. We’ll also have a very good book by Andy Crouch, “The Tech-Wise Family,” available for $11.
Here’s something to beguile you: we’ve mentioned before that if your phone is merely in the room, even if it’s flipped over not in use, it’s a subconscious distraction. Now there are studies showing that students taking exams with their phones present and turned off do more poorly than those without phones at all. So, there’s a “consciousness” issue, an unintentional awareness maintained by your mind that is draining cognitive resources. I’ve wondered, for myself, if the simple awareness of my email — always stacking up even when my out-of-office-responder is on — works on me the same way.
More broadly, relative to a digitized era, I think about the fact that we are people of a Book. To know God we need to know what he has spoken in his Word, a discipline that is enriched by time invested and a mind at peace. There’s no knowing Him without sustained concentration which, as far as I can tell, is steadily eroded by the medium through which most of us now receive our information. I believe time will make this battle increasingly clear. In fact, I’ll try to make a case for how the tactile, material nature of a physical book substantially alters the way we hear and process knowledge.
So, here’s a closing question to get you thinking: J.I. Packer has argued a parallel between the Incarnation — an invisible God who is “found in human form” (Php 2:8) — and the Word of God, the voice of the Spirit found in scrolls, then papyrus, then parchment, and now paper. You have to wonder what he was doing in that and how intentional it was — giving us his voice in the form of something we hold in our hands. Are pixels the same experience? Is it just the “information” that matters, or is the medium vital to the message? We won’t have all the answers on Saturday, but we can have an important and useful conversation. Looking forward to it.