Archive - June, 2011

Loneliness and Social Media

Great article by Tim Challies on how social media can supplant true friendship and  mask loneliness.  He writes of a study on a sort-of digital fast:

Could you go just one day without checking e-mail? And without logging in to Facebook? And without using a cell phone? And without turning on your television? Could you go 24 hours without using any media at all? This was a question put forward by the International Center for Media and Public Affairs and a challenge accepted by 1,000 university students worldwide.

An excerpt:

Removing media exposed the tenuous nature of relationships in a digital world. These tend to become relationships of convenience, relationships with very little true depth. This study shows us all what we stand to lose as the digital becomes dominant and as we find ourselves more and more comfortable in a world of constant mediation. And perhaps it shows that we are largely oblivious to the nature and scope of this loss. These students are upstream from the older generations. This younger generation tends to adopt early, but eventually all generations find themselves using the same devices in the same way. This study needs to be a warning to each of us, whether young or old.

Read the whole thing.   Challies is the author of  The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion.

July/Aug issue of Modern Reformation

The current (July/Aug) issue of Modern Reformation is out, and the Table of Contents is below (with links to free previews).  I was asked to submit a piece highlighting some of the themes in Thriving at College related to discipleship and technology.   The article is entitled Coming of Age in the Facebook Age.


Learning the A, B, Cs (In This Issue) By Ryan Glomsrud
Acts 4: The Community of the Kingdom (Studies in Acts) By Dennis Johnson
“Hi, I’m a Sinner” (From the Hallway) By Anonymous
Trees or Tumbleweeds? By Michael S. Horton
Word & Sacrament Ministry (For a Modern Reformation) By Michael S. Horton

The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor

Fred Zaspel reviews a short book particularly suited to ministers and Bible scholars,  The Pastor as Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor: Reflections on Life and Ministry, by D.A. Carson and John Piper (edited by Owen Strachan & David Mathis).

Economic Freedom & Quality of Life

If you care about the poor (and you should), you should care about economic freedom:

HT: Justin Taylor

Keller, Horton, Chandler: The Church and Culture

The most efficient 9-minute conversation on this topic that I’ve ever heard:

Chandler, Horton, and Keller on the Church in Culture from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

HT: Justin Taylor

Why You Should Still Go to College

Zac Bissonnette, author of Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents, has a brief post, pointing to some articles arguing for and against the value of a college education.   (See my previous post for a run-down on the main pros and cons here.)

Related: Class of 2011, Most Indebted Ever

HT: David Murray

Nearly 60% of Parents Are Financially Supporting Adult Children

According to a survey just released by the National Endowment for Financial Education:

59 percent of parents are providing, or have in the past provided, financial support to their adult children when they are no longer in school. The online poll was commissioned by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), in cooperation with, and conducted by Harris Interactive in May 2011.

According to the survey, parents are providing support in many ways:
  • 50 percent are providing housing
  • 48 percent are helping with living expenses
  • 41 percent are aiding with transportation costs
  • 35 percent are providing insurance coverage
  • 29 percent are handing out spending money
  • 28 percent are helping with medical bills

Read the whole thing. While this kind of assistance can truly benefit those seeking to get a jump on their professional lives and/or pay off student loans, it’s important for the adults (young or otherwise) who benefit from these arrangements to maintain a sense of responsibility for their lives, and a determination to work hard, better themselves, and transition into full financial independence over time.  I discuss this in Chapter 5 of Thriving at College. Another good resource on this topic (directed more to parents than to young adults) is You Never Stop Being a Parent: Thriving in Relationship With Your Adult Children.

Speaking of Missions – A New Book

The theme of the DG National Conference reminded me a new book by Pastor David Horner, which, though I’ve only read David Platt’s Foreword, looks fascinating. From the press release:

Horner sheds light on why many U.S. churches have abandoned global missions, charging pastors to dedicate their best leadership and resources to fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20).  In the book, Horner unpacks a statistical study of evangelical churches, addressing what he calls “an anemic level of commitment” to the biblical mandate of making Christ known around the world. Horner carefully details where the church is today, how it got there, and where we must go from here.

“Feel the weight of this reality: At this moment millions of people in thousands of unreached people groups have a knowledge of God that is only sufficient to damn them to hell. For this reason we are obligated to preach the gospel to the nations. I thank God for David Horner–for his life and for his leadership, for the church he leads and for their commitment to missions. I pray the Lord will inspire, teach, educate, and motivate us all through this book.”

David Platt, best-selling author of Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

What Every Author Should Know About Radio and Television Interviews

An excellent post by Michael Hyatt on how an author can prepare for radio and TV interviews.  I’ve had something like 15-20 radio interviews in the last two months, so I wish I had read this post about three months ago.  Here are his 10 points:

1. Prepare thoroughly for the interview.
Remember that the show is not about you.
Understand the audience.|
Don’t expect the interviewer to have read your book.
Be able to explain what your book is about in a few sentences.
Listen carefully to the questions.
Keep your answers brief and to-the-point.
Be energetic and authentic.
Don’t become defensive.
Refer listeners back to your book.

Hyatt’s advice is rock solid, but takes a lot of work to implement.  And it’s not just working hard that matters here, it’s working smart, so read the post.

The investment is worthwhile.  Hyatt’s conclusion is spot-on:

Writing a great book is half the job. The other half is embracing your role as the book’s chief spokesperson.

Yet the latter is often so much more difficult!

Develop Your Leadership Potential

Boundless has published an article I wrote on developing your leadership potential. Here’s the opening:

Most people say they’re above-average drivers, have above-average looks, above-average intelligence and are above-average in their professions. Psychologists call this self-enhancement. Mathematicians call it impossible. But it’s said to be at an all-time high today, particularly in the young-adult generation. A whopping 94 percent of college students think they have above-average leadership skills.

This is problematic, because if you think you’re better at something than you really are, you’re less likely to work at it. You expect it to come easily to you. But that makes you less likely to succeed. Most men who play in the NBA will tell you it was really hard to get there – they’ll tell you of great coaches, years of strenuous practice sessions, grueling off-season training, special diets and more. The guys who thought it’d be easy, for the most part, they’re gone.

If you want, you can read the rest.

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