Gordon-Conwell Blog

Three Ways the Internet May be Stunting Your Christian Growth | Seminary Guest Blogger

November 19, 2013

Josh Kluth

The Internet is an incredible example of technological innovation. The resources at our fingertips are countless. The way social media mimics real life keeps us “refreshing” our updates and “connecting” with people. Our behavior often mimics our technology—quickly downloading information and outputting data. Our digital interactions make communication almost too easy with all of the posting, commenting, linking, liking, sharing, etc. As people made in the image of God, we can forget that our hearts and minds are much more, well, human. How does our use of the Internet affect our Christian growth? Are their inherent dangers? I’d like to suggest three ways the Internet can stunt our growth as Christians.

1. The Internet can short-circuit your Christian development. Online resources can give the impression that difficult questions have simplistic answers. Christian development does not occur via mouse click. We are meant to wrestle through issues in the Bible. Sometimes, though, the only struggle today is how long it takes us to find thoughts from our favorite online pastor or blogger. No real need to think, wait, fast, struggle, ponder, trust or meditate. Just a steady diet of regurgitation. Alan Jacobs alerts us to this when he remarks that the internet is “the friend of information and the enemy of thought.”

2. The internet can demonstrate your idolatry. Have you ever met someone whose personality changed depending on who they spent time with? This can happen among well-meaning Christians impressed by an influential speaker or writer. The internet allows us access to endless hours of podcasts and blog posts. If we’re not carefully, we begin to mimic the vocabulary, tone and style of someone else as if they are our own. G.K. Beale says, “We resemble what we revere.” It’s almost as if we want to be perceived in the same way we perceive those who have tremendous influence over us. It may be the case of misplaced worship when we become image-bearers of those with whom we spend the most time.

3. Social media can short-circuit your friend’s Christian development. It’s amazing how fast social media allows us to share and respond to others, especially if there is an opportunity to offer advice, answers, counsel or issue a challenge. But simple answers often numb our hearts. Our tone, concern and thoughtfulness often touch hearts deeper than words typed out. The Internet may not be the best place to post deeply personal questions and thoughts, but it certainly isn’t the best place to offer care and concern. Pixels on your computer are a poor transmitter of grace. Sometimes it’s best to get offline and talk in person. I sometimes fear our desire to look smart eclipses our desire to actually demonstrate care.

The Internet is not bad. It is a gift. However you use it, I pray that you would find yourself more satisfied with God, not less; more excited to spend time in prayer, not less; more influenced in our study of Scripture, not less; more physical time spent with people, not less. After all, our goal is to be conformed more to his image. May all of our online activity (reading, posting, sharing, listening, commenting, liking, following, quoting etc.) be a means for making much of our Lord. For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36).

Josh and his wife, Tara, are from Washington State. Josh is pursuing an MAR and MATH while Tara works as a hairdresser in Manchester-by-the-Sea. Together, they are most captivated by the story in which God has placed them in this fascinatingly bizarre world that spins across this universe. In the midst of it all, they are stabilized by what Sally Lloyd-Jones describes as “God’s 'Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love' in Jesus" (Jesus Storybook Bible).

Tags: Author: Josh Kluth , guest post

Add comment

COMMENTS

No comments yet. Be the first!

Trusting Jesus With Seminary | Seminary Guest Blogger

October 22, 2013

Josh Kluth

I used to think life transitions were moments that connected the different stages of life. These life stages include the different social statuses that define many: student, single, married, divorced, employee, enlisted, parent, grandparent, retiree, etc. Or life stages could be identified as emotional seasons of difficulty, joy, maturation or loneliness. However we define them, transitions are like bridges that connect the peninsula to the mainland. The point is to get over them and on to “real life.” The older I have gotten, the more difficult it has become to identify a period of transition from the main road. At times, I wonder if we can even identify the main road.

For some, life seems to be a never-ending connection of transitions that we trust are heading somewhere. However, I’m not so convinced there is a point of arrival at having “made it” this side of the New Heavens and New Earth. After all, what does “making it” look like? Retirement? House paid off? White picket fence and the 2.5 healthy (and perfectly polite) kids? Which of these are the main road and which are the isolated transition points? My wife and my journey to Gordon-Conwell has illustrated this for us.

I first heard of Gordon-Conwell as a junior in college from a mentor of mine who was an alumnus. Curious as to what seminary was all about, I sent off an inquiry and received a packet in the mail describing the different programs. Sheer curiosity. That was 10 years ago. I got a job after college, served in ministry, got married, tried to find better jobs, switched careers, etc. In fact, my wife remembers me telling her that I was determined not to pursue a life in full-time ministry. Seminary wasn’t a consideration. And yet, through a long process of being led by the Lord, encouraged by friends, miraculous provisions in finances, scholarship opportunities and Semlink distance classes, we came to Gordon-Conwell. We left our home in the Pacific Northwest and arrived in the dead of winter in January 2013 just in time to be greeted by Hurricane Nemo. And to be honest, the transition hasn’t been all that easy. Moreover, it hasn’t been altogether clear where God is taking us in the future. However, we feel confident that God’s orchestration has led us to this moment.

We aren’t confident of how to distinguish between a life transition and a life stage. But we are confident that Jesus is the Good Shepherd. As pilgrims in this world, we are confident that life itself may continue to produce transitions. As people being conformed constantly to the image of Christ, we are determined to transition well until the day he takes us home to glory. But for the time being, we are here at Gordon-Conwell determined to lean on Jesus. He is the gate, but he is the way. He is not just the beginning point. He is not a life stage and he is not a transition. There is just no getting over him.

Josh and his wife, Tara, are from Washington State. Josh is pursuing an MAR and MATH while Tara works as a hairdresser in Manchester-by-the-Sea. Together, they are most captivated by the story in which God has placed them in this fascinatingly bizarre world that spins across this universe. In the midst of it all, they are stabilized by what Sally Lloyd-Jones describes as “God’s 'Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love' in Jesus" (Jesus Storybook Bible).

Tags: Author: Josh Kluth , current students , equipping leaders for the church and society , future students , guest post

Add comment

COMMENTS

No comments yet. Be the first!

Gordon-Conwell Voices