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How and Why We Let Our Daughter Join Instagram

How and Why We Let Our Daughter Join Instagram

One of our favorite games as a family is called Oh Heck. You might know it as Up and Down the River. The reason this simple card game is so great is that while the rules of the game remain the same, every hand there is a different trump and a different number of cards. Throw in the fact that you can play the game with anywhere from two to seven players, and every game is different.

That feels a lot like parenting a child in 2019. The only thing that is the same is that everything is always changing.

In April our fifteen year old daughter asked if she could create an Instagram account. We said yes.

When is the right time to let your child engage in social media? More broadly, how do you parent children relating to technology?

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      The Massive Self-Storage Industry: If you were going to invest in one industry over the past few decades, it would be hard to beat self-storage, which is now a $32 billion a year industry. Patrick Sisson digs deeper into the industry where "One in 11 Americans pays an average of $91.14 per month to use self-storage, finding a place for the material overflow of the American dream."

2.      Study: Atheists Find Meaning in Life by Inventing Fairy TalesRichard Weikart reflects on a recent report, "The survey admitted the meaning that atheists and non-religious people found in their lives is entirely self-invented. According to the survey, they embraced the position: 'Life is only meaningful if you provide the meaning yourself.'”

3.      Ten Things You Should Know About the CrossPatrick Schreiner concludes, "The cross is not only where our sin is paid for, where the devil is conquered, but the shape of Christianity. As Rutledge has said, 'the crucifixion is the touchstone of Christian authenticity, the unique feature by which everything else. . . is given true significance.'”

4.      Can Social Media Be Saved? Kevin Roose examines whether there might be alternatives to the current quagmire, "I don’t need to tell you that something is wrong with social media. You’ve probably experienced it yourself. Maybe it’s the way you feel while scrolling through your Twitter feed — anxious, twitchy, a little world weary... Or maybe it was this month’s Facebook privacy scandal, which reminded you that you’ve entrusted the most intimate parts of your digital life to a profit-maximizing surveillance machine."

5.      The Owner of the Paper Airplane World Record Shows You How It's Done: You also get to check out John Collins's loop-de-loop plane and his bat plane. Pretty cool.

Fishbowl Living

Fishbowl Living

Recently, Southern Baptist Convention President Paige Patterson was ousted from his post at Southwestern Seminary.[i] The firing began not with a dramatic revelation, but with concern over Patterson’s public statement some 18 years ago when he said that he had never counseled couples to separate or divorce.[ii] The trickle turned into a stream and then a torrent as other statements and counsel surfaced (including discouraging a female student from reporting a sexual assault on his campus). The external pressure from the mounting claims made Patterson’s firing all but inevitable.

I believe the outcome was just. But ten years ago Paige Patterson would have never lost his post. It is only in a day and age where every statement is public and permanent that these moments could be brought to the fore in such a short time period. And it is only in a day and age of democratized communication that the voices of those injured by Patterson and those who were upset with the trustees at Southwestern Seminary would have been heard so quickly and had such an impact.[iii]

Every word is public.

Every word is permanent.

I grew up in a mega-church. From time to time our pastor would reflect on the difficulty of his family living “in a fishbowl” where everything they did was monitored. In 2018 we all live in that fishbowl.

There are obvious dangers of this reality in the world we live. But there are also wonderful opportunities.

Mark Zuckerberg, Meet Jethro

Mark Zuckerberg, Meet Jethro

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, recently claimed that as church attendance declines, Facebook will become the new church for people, offering a sense of community and meaning.[i] But Facebook can’t be the church, and not just because it isn’t built on a true foundation of hope in the good news of Jesus Christ. But it also can’t be the church because it can’t effectively form a community of a people on mission, serving God and one another together for God’s transformative purpose. In other words, Facebook neither has the content nor the form that can replace the church.

My hunch is that most Christians get the content part of what makes Zuckerberg’s claim faulty. We get that we need the gospel for the church. But I think that fewer might understand the gap on the form front. In other words, what am I really missing out on if I listen to worship music throughout the week, watch clips of my favorite preachers on YouTube and then share about my faith on social media?

One thing you’re missing out on is God’s purpose for you in serving a gathered community, the church.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is the unlikely encounter between Moses and his father-in-law, Jethro, in Exodus 18.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       Always Looking, Never Wanting to Find: Mark Loughridge considers a reality for us in our cultural moment, "It’s cool to search for God, but uncool to find him. People talk about wanting to find spiritual reality and deeper meaning, about wanting to get in touch with God. The idea of looking for him sounds good—the search, the journey—but the reality of actually finding him is too much."

2.       Ordinary Beauty: Melissa Edgington shares an ordinary story of God's grace, "At the cash register stood a young girl with a nose ring. Her hair was pulled back, but long blonde ringlets framed her face. There is no telling how many hours she had been on her feet in that store, but still she smiled and asked how my night was going. And then, while I fished in my gigantic black hole of a purse for my wallet, she told me that I look pretty tonight. Just like that. She handed me that grace. That generous gift to a tired mama who almost certainly doesn’t look pretty tonight. And I was surprised by how shocked I was."

3.       Accept Your Leadership: Tim Challies with a call to men, "Your family needs to be led. Your wife and children need you to be the leader God calls you to be. He calls you to lead in love, to study the life and character of Jesus Christ, and to imitate him. Do that and God will be pleased. Do that and your family will be blessed. Run to win by accepting and embracing your leadership."

4.    When Should a Church Address a Current Event: In light of the recent outbreak of racist events, Trevin Wax processes whether or not a church ought to publicly address a given issue. He begins by sharing the online response from a certain quarter regarding the Charlottesville protest, "On social media, multiple people counseled churches on how to respond the next morning. Some called for condemning white supremacy and Neo-Nazis by name. Others offered prayer for pastors who were revising their sermons or penning statements to read before the church. This sentiment popped up a few times: If your church doesn't address this tomorrow, find another congregation. The social media fever implied that failing to speak on the issue indicated you were taking the side of white supremacists."

5.       Is that Hate Speech? I encourage you to take this New York Times baffling quiz on what and what does not qualify as hate speech on Facebook.