Over the holiday season I was involved in several very interesting conversations about the culture that we live in today. One of them involved some parents of teenagers who attend a church, and revolved around the idea that there doesn’t seem to be enough “bible teaching” in the church these days, or enough encouragement for people to bring their bibles along, or be reading their Bible’s regularly or to get them to do their own independent Bible study.
The thing that I keep pushing back on, and the thing that I think a lot people struggle to understand, is that people these days – even Christians – are far more shaped by the culture around us then they are by the word of God, or by the church, or by Sunday school, or by youth group. They just are so immersed in the different technologies that are available, and we haven’t been proactive enough, or intentional enough, or clever enough, to combat what’s been happening.
The case in point was the fact that while we were talking about this very thing, three teenagers were sitting there on the couch, all on a different device, all next to each other, and all silent, engaged in some meaningless game of swiping and tapping. I don’t think I heard anything from them for over an hour!
Now it’s not wrong to allow your kids to entertain themselves on these devices, but when it becomes what they are spending most of their time doing, then it gets dangerous.
The thing that you realise as you minister to people, is that they seem to expect you to be able to fix all of their problems by saying something once. You tell people to bring their bibles, and so they’ll do it. You tell people to cut back on their social network usage and they’ll do it, you tell people to do things God’s way and they’ll do it. I have learnt over 15 years that it simply is not how people are.
The world doesn’t work this way anymore, if it ever did. Everyone feels free to do or not do whatever they want. People can bring their bibles or not, they can choose to develop these habits of reading or not, they can choose to be parents and regulate their teen’s use of various forms of technology. Or they can just float through life, without doing anything in particular, and hope for the best, letting everyone else speak to and teach their kids what they ‘should know’ while trying to blame someone who gets to see them for 9o mins a week, about the same amount of time as just one film, and how much time do they spend on their devices again?
If you are serious about passing your faith on to your kids, if you want them to follow in your footsteps of belief, and if you want to see them passionate about the things of God, you are going to have to do some things differently.
Okay – rant over! Check out the next post in this series to hear why cultivating habits is so important.