From the Pastors' Desks

Tech, Teenagers, and The Confessions

As I’m preparing for a new year of High School Theology class, I thought I would share my thoughts with you, asking for your prayers. Here is a portion of the letter that was sent out to parents of the HS theology class.
“The past few years I’ve become increasingly convinced that our young people not only need to know the outlines of classic systematic theology (The Doctrines of God, Man, Christ, Holy Spirit, Church, etc.), but they also need to know how to biblically discern the issues of our day. Our society is becoming increasingly aggressive in ‘catechizing’ young people in the new cultural religion of progressive thought and it is extremely important for our young people to be able to discern Biblical truth in the midst of the mass deceptions of our age.
However, I don’t want HS Theology class to simply become cultural apologetics. I think we also need to be teaching the classic, Biblical, Reformed faith. So, this year I’m going to combine theology proper and applied theology. My plan is to spend the first half of our time each week working our way through the Westminster Confession of Faith. We are going to take our time: becoming familiar with the Confession, looking up Scripture references, and always asking “Why does this matter?”.  

The second half of the class time will be devoted to learning wisdom and discernment in the areas of technology, entertainment, consumerism, sexuality, etc. We will be using Trevin Wax’s new book This is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel. From time to time, we will also be handing out articles and recommending video clips. My goal is to help the students ‘see’ the world through a Biblical lens and understand the importance of bringing our lives into line with the truth of God’s Word. I believe these are days when we need to be thinking very clearly about our identity as followers of Jesus Christ and what that means for our participation in the surrounding culture.”
One of the greatest struggles happening right now in Christian homes is the struggle between parents and teenagers concerning phone usage and social media.  I’m planning on addressing this straight-up in HS Theology class.  But we all need help.
One of the key ways we are being conformed to our society is through social media. There is a growing consensus among scholars that social media is not our friend. 

“On the scale between candy and crack cocaine, it’s closer to crack cocaine,” Mr. Anderson said of screens. Technologists building these products and writers observing the tech revolution were naïve, he said. 
“We thought we could control it,” Mr. Anderson said.
“And this is beyond our power to control. This is going
straight to the pleasure centers of the developing brain.”

As followers of Jesus Christ and stewards of His covenant children, let’s start a healthy, grace-filled, but serious conversation about what social media technology is doing to us and how we can become informed and proactive. You will find some recommended resources below.
If anyone has recommendations on this topic I would love to hear them! Send me an email and let me know.
One final thought. We will have differences of opinion on some of these issues and the proper application of principles. That’s ok.  Romans 14 reminds us that, where Scripture doesn’t clearly command, we leave room for liberty and differences. But the Revelation series has reminded me that this world is no friend to grace, and deception is the Devil’s greatest weapon. I’m just asking, for the sake of our kids, that we strive to be aware of his schemes.
Ok, one more final thought. As we seek to lead our children into sanctified social media, we will need to model it.

-Pastor Dale

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