My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

16 September 2008

An experiment

An idea has grown out of the soil of frustration: I am going to try to go without the internet for a month (I'll still do email, see my rules below). Why? Two main reasons:

First, I think (don't know, though) that the internet is changing the way I think. See here and here. Simply put, for my life's calling, I can't afford the short attention span this interweb has developed in me. I can't afford to think in blog posts and headlines; I need to get back to essays and books and talking to people.

Second, the internet is changing the way I work and not usually for the better. I realize the incredible resource this is, especially for research, but I need some time away to learn better to separate the wheat from the chaff, to figure out what I really need and what is wasting my time.

Caveat: my little experiment is really designed for me and shouldn't be taken as a condemnation of the internet or as an example to follow. This experiment is designed to combat my own weakness in self-discipline. When my wife and I first got married, we lived in a place that had cable. I learned then that I would either watch way too much t.v. or I would keep the television in storage until I really had something to watch. So I'm putting the internet in storage for a little while.

My rules: email is still in, because it's a necessary part of my work as a pastor. Financial interactions (paying bills, making necessary purchases) are in, but online window-shopping is out. Also, if someone adds me as a friend on facebook, I'll accept, but only to avoid hurt feelings. Finally, there are one or two couple small tasks for which I use the internet; I'll continue those.

So, no blog posts. No twitters. No news. No youtube. No wikipedia. No drudge.

Ultimately, I'm headed back to the stone age in an attempt to get enough perspective to discern what parts of this internet are worth keeping around in my life.

09 September 2008

On Modesty

Modesty is a must, everywhere and for everyone but perhaps never more so than in our increasingly proud and licentious society. How does this practically work out in the family? In your family?

Fathers are responsible for what goes on in their home and family; this includes the clothes your daughters wear! My daughter is not yet old enough to need rules and guidelines but I've already tried to think through some, mostly on behalf of the families in our congregation. It's actually a very difficult thing to do. So I appreciate the wisdom of these four guidelines from Michael Hyatt, who's the CEO at Thomas Nelson [of course, I don't endorse much of anything that Thomas Nelson publishes]. But first, a friend sent me a good preamble to keep us from diving off the other side:

Recognizing that God has designed women with beautiful features that should not be covered like the muslim women, consider these guidelines...
  1. If you have trouble getting into it or out of it, it is probably not modest.

  2. If you have to be careful when you sit down or bend over, it is probably not modest.

  3. If people look at any part of your body before looking at your face, it is probably not modest.

  4. If you can see your most private body parts or an outline of those parts under the fabric, it is probably not modest.
A couple thoughts: this list smells like Biblical wisdom to me and I appreciate that it doesn't claim a proof text for each rule, which is a dead giveaway for legalism. If you (ladies) or your wives/daughters (men) don't like it, I'd be interested in hearing why not and what guidelines you use toward modesty.

Finally, it's worth remembering that modesty isn't for women only. Anytime we pridefully draw attention to ourselves-whether it sexual or otherwise, whether it's tight clothes or prominent piercings-we are being immodest. So let's not forget to teach our sons about modesty, too.

02 September 2008

Science, Scripture, and the people stuck in the middle

Recently, I had a conversation with a fellow believer, who's also a scientist, about creation, evolution and the many gray areas in between. One thing he said stuck out to me, so I thought I'd toss it out for discussion:
When the Bible and science disagree, the Bible is always right. When Christians and scientists disagree, scientists are usually right.
Do you agree? Why or why not? What the implications?