Monday, May 11, 2009

CIY Believe dialogue... again...

So last week, I started a bit of a dialogue with a buddy of mine in Georgia... who is way smarter than me (in fact I had to read his entry three times and think about it for four days to come up with something to post... especially since he stated that he would be looking for one).

You can find Nate's second post HERE.
And you can find my first post HERE.

Technology and Youth Culture
I agree with Nate on a couple of points. First off, are our students totally addicted their electronic gadgets? Yes. today I mailed in our registrations for CIY Believe's bigger brother program CIY Move (which is a weeklong version that spawned the weekend version for middle schoolers, if I have my CIY timing down). One of the features of this event in the past has been the expectation on CIY's part that we would not allow our students to keep any electronic gadgets that might distract from the week. This included cell phones, iPods, DVD players and others of the sort. Every year this elicits no small amount of whining, begging, pleading, scheming and attempting to keep electronics from well-meaning adults. (This every year requires me to threaten to EBay any electronics discovered after the deadline to ensure that we have collected them all... which I at this point haven't had to do.) But CIY threw us a curveball last year when they asked for students to bring their cell phones to a couple of sessions... not cool. Actually, it made all of the youth ministers who have abided by the expectations look like the youth minister equivalent of the "big bad wolf" in view of several youth minister who didn't.

Are Adults Any Better?
But here's my point. Are students addicted to their electronics? Absolutely! Are their adult counterparts any better? No way!

In fact, just a couple of nights ago I was hanging out with a group of folks from our church. In the midst of the conversation, one of the adults remarked that he had gotten a new cell phone and had joined the iPhone club (Yay!). He had a blackberry before, but had worn it out. Another of the adults commented that he had worn out the roller ball on his Blackberry three times. Granted, this individual is a business man and uses his phone a lot for business purposes. But furthermore, adults aren't much better at not being addicted to their little electronic drug. In fact, I would have to admit that I first read Nate's comments on my iPhone. And even now, I sit in Starbucks on my laptop using their free Wifi.

So, are students to blame for their electronic gadget addiction? Sure. But they are in part a product of their environment. Does that make them innocent? No. And should youth ministers be cautioning our students against the excesses of electronic addiction? Probably... but only realizing that some may be as bad as their teenage audience. (This youth minister might be in that later category... depending on who you ask...)

Now, this is in no way a condemnation of technology. I am quite possibly the biggest techie that I know. Just the other day, the worship minister at my church (who doesn't blog or twitter, so I have no way of introducing him to you if you don't already know him) and I were talking in the office about the potential benefits of Twitter in the worship service. This service/addiction isn't that difficult to figure out, but it still has many over the age of 40 scratching their heads. But I am a huge technie.

So to blame the students for their electronic addiction isn't exactly fair. Our soceity at a whole is addicted to their electronic leashes.

I'll kick it back in Nate's direction...

A Word of Caution
I do want to issue one word of caution that some have missed in the previous message. This dialogue is a friendly dialogue for the purpose of learning and growing and Kingdom advancement.

This is NOT a debate or an argument! It is a friendly discussion.

I received one comment on this thread that saught rather than adding to the conversation to rundown Mr. Gilmour's reputation as "worldly," "haughty," "lofty," and "self-endowed." This sort of commenting will not be tolerated. This is a friendly discussion between TWO kingdom workers... one in the youth ministry and one in the college classroom.

I would certainly have expected better from a member of the CIY group.

If you would like to impune the reputation of either Mr. Gilmour (which sounds way too formal, but we'll go with it) or myself, go and get your own blog and post over there. If you do choose to post over there on this topic, we'll read your postings and comment appropriately. Therefore, your comment (Mr. Jefferson) has been removed.

An Invitiation:
For everyone else... If you're following along and would like to comment, we (Nate and myself) would more than welcome your thoughts, insights and comments. But let's keep them civil.


1 comment:

  1. I'd say that we're both in youth ministry and both in the college classroom, but I suppose that's semantics. :)

    Also, you're a tough cop, man. I've been called much worse than worldly online and not batted an eye. ;)

    Look for my reply in the coming days, and thanks for continuing the conversation.