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The Impulsive Urge to Check

Words of Life / Salvation Army
The Truth Network Radio
May 29, 2022 1:12 am

The Impulsive Urge to Check

Words of Life / Salvation Army

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May 29, 2022 1:12 am

As we continue our series studying technology and the church- in this episode, Jason Thacker and Bernie Dake discuss how we’ve arrived at this place in time where we are conditioned be, “attached” to our devices. Again- as we continue to state, technology isn’t bad- but let’s make sure we are using the technology around us in healthy, God-honoring ways.


Series: Discipled by Algorithms

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Hi, this is Bernie Dake. Welcome to the Salvation Army's Words of Life.

Welcome back to Words of Life. I'm Cheryl Gillum. And I'm Bernie Dake.

Hey, Bernie. So good to be with you today. And you know, we're hoping you are enjoying the series Discipled by Algorithms with our guest Jason Thacker.

We are now on our fourth week of this seven-week series. And today, Bernie, you and Jason discuss how we've become trained to be connected and at times maybe even addicted to our devices. Wow. That hits home, brother. That hits home. There's a great illustration of Pavlov's dog when you take a psychology class in college.

You know, every time the bell rang, the dog's mouth would eventually start to drool because they knew that there was a treat coming. Yeah. I'm like that with the haptics on my phone. So do you know that you have like a thing under your settings called screen time so you can like turn it on and see how much time daily, not as weekly, but daily you are spending on your phone? I didn't until you just started telling me about it. I think I need to turn it on.

Well, I just opened mine up and I'm ashamed to say mine is five hours and 44 minutes a day this week. And so, I mean, I've struggled with this for a while, you know, I mean, really for a very long time. And then I do use it for good things too in regards to, I mean, you know, there's the Bible app and all that kind of thing on there. Screen time doesn't mean that it's bad. No, it doesn't. It really doesn't. But the truth is, is that it just is indicative of like how much time I'm spending on this little device right here.

If I could say anything, the importance of knowing those types of things is just realizing your habits, you know, and whether or not you've become, in a sense, a slave to them, as opposed to actually being present for those around you, your family, your spouse, your significant others, your children. So it's a good tool to use. Absolutely. Yeah, very good. Well, I wanted to start this episode with two seminarians walk into a studio and see where it goes. See how that works. Look, I'm just trying to help.

I don't need a percentage of any of the... Well, welcome back to Words of Life. I'm so excited, still excited to have Jason Thacker in the studio. Jason's written a book called The Age of AI, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity. And for those that know me, it is a stretch to read this stuff because you speak on such a level that's, I think, amenable to the human spirit because I don't necessarily think I would have picked this up for volunteer reading. But even just getting into the first chapter, I'm captivated and I can't stop. Thank you.

The problem is I only got it a few days ago, so I gotta get through it. And we are so grateful you're here. I appreciate that. If you've listened to the other episodes, you know that we're talking about all things tech and the kingdom of God.

And Jason's got such a great view on this as an ethicist and as a seminarian and as a father and as a husband and all of those things that we can each relate to. Today, we wanna ask a little bit about the impulsive urge to check our devices. And a good story for me is I work in a team of 14 people and the leadership part of that team, one of the requests not so subtly to me was maybe leave devices in another room when we're doing meetings because for me, it's very easy to get distracted. I just assume that everything is urgent because my wrist is vibrating or my phone vibrated or there's another notification at my computer that I can't stand to see that little red dot. This is a problem for everybody. Is everything so urgent?

It's not actually. And that's one of the things. Years ago, there was a Netflix documentary called The Social Dilemma. And one of the things that I found really interesting, they talk about the shape of technology, what it's doing to us and various ways to regulate this industry and all of these different kind of ethical issues that come up. One of the things that really stood out to me was one of the interviewees was asked and he's talking about technology and he says, it's not really a question, do you check Twitter in the morning?

The question is, do you check it before you get out of bed or while you're going to the bathroom? And I think this kind of, it speaks to that impulsive urge to check is, I wake up in the morning and I immediately expect to see all these little red bubbles all over my phone about all the things I've missed, not thinking that really everyone's been asleep like I have, hopefully. And even though maybe my overseas friends might be emailing or sharing something online, but by and large is kind of a dead time is not a lot of people are sharing things, but I expect there to be things where I'll pick up my phone and I'm like, well, what did I miss? And that's one of those subtle things that we've talked about in previous episodes about the way technology shaping us, it's forming us or it's discipling us to use the language that I like is it's, it's forming us to think that there's always something we're missing. Really the tagline on Twitter or on Facebook is what's happening. And that's that prompt to put something, to tweet something, to share something. And so there's this immediacy, this speed, this impulsive edge where we always think something's going on and we're missing out somehow.

But really the way of wisdom, especially from the scriptures themselves is slowing down, asking these kind of big questions about who is God, what does it mean to be human and what's the nature of the world, but also just slowing down and realizing that not everything's urgent. Right. Some of the things, the most important things are right before us. So I remember, I mean, I'll, I'll confess this to you. I've had my sons bring me my phone and for me that was incredibly convicting because I didn't ask them to.

Yeah. They brought me my phone because daddy's always on his phone. So naturally they think, well, daddy needs his phone because what is it, you know, he's probably missing something or he's always working. And I think that's something that I'm training my children subtly to think that that's the way life is, that you always have to have your devices. So we've tried to really kind of reshape a lot of that in our home about the way we approach technology, the way that I teach them about the bounds of technology. I'm trying, I'm not perfect.

I fail very often on this, but that's something that my wife and I have constant conversations. Yeah. Not only about putting our devices down, but even questions of, you know, did you see this online? Well, I didn't see that, but did you see this and this idea that we're always missing something, but we also live incredibly isolated lives online where everything's curated and formatted just for me, just for you.

Those algorithms. And it's very isolating. And so that's when we're teaching our children is trying to shape and form how they approach these type of things, using the way of wisdom, using the biblical wisdom and the biblical literature and really the Christian ethic. And because ethics isn't something far off and disconnected from our lives, it's our everyday lives.

It's everything we do is ethical in nature. And so slowing down and asking some of those hard questions and, you know, being okay with the uncomfortableness, not having my phone with me at all times, things like that to start to retrain myself about how to think better about these technologies. We were talking about the distraction of social media. When we're staring at our devices, I want our listeners to hear this because I'm guilty of it. Instead of engaging with those physically around us, what message do you think that sends to them?

Yeah. I mean, I think it obviously is important. I mean, even with my children is whatever's on daddy's phone must be more important than us or it's more pressing and things like that.

And sometimes, you know, it's not a bad thing that we're, we have to check our devices or I like to have my phone or I like to know that my wife's gone on a trip and I want to check in with her and things like that. So I think we have to get out of this mindset. Again, what we've talked about in previous episodes is technology good or bad, right? And we just want the answer.

We just want the simple answer. Well, it's a lot more nuanced than that course. It's good and bad in some sense. And so we have to recognize the way of wisdom and care and nuance. We can subtly communicate to others that what we're doing and really ourselves are more important than they are. And then we start to see people that we interact with online. It's just simply avatars.

They're not really people. They're just people that, you know, they're an avatar that I can tweet at or share out or post at or a dunk on and say these terrible things to and interact with every way I want and say things that I never would say to a person face to face across the table like this because technology is discipling us. It's forming us to see not only ourselves, but also to see other people as less than they really are, which is ultimately an image bearer of the Almighty God.

And so that's where we have to start to ask these hard questions. And when we put down our devices or when we have our devices and we start to realize these are real people just like me and you. And so maybe we don't have to say that thing that we want to say online or that zinger or that thing that's going to get us applause from our tribe is to think about wisdom, charity, nuance, but also speak truth. We can speak truth and we don't have to speak in compromise on our beliefs, especially as we live them out in the public.

What advice, what better habits could you maybe instruct our listeners to consider when you think about disconnecting? Yeah. So there's a quote from a Canadian philosopher a long time ago. He says that one of the problems with technology is that we often think we need more technology to solve the problems that technology itself introduced. So we're addicted to our screen so we just need a screen time app. That'll fix it.

And that's really kind of a short sighted view. Now I'm not saying screen time apps or various pieces of tools and technologies are bad by any means, but we have to understand what they are and kind of their limitations. I think some of the better habits we can create is just simply putting our phone down. I know that's hard.

I mean, I know that's hard, but I tried to, especially at dinner, if my wife's listened to this, she'll be laughing because she knows I fail at this often. But I try to keep it in another room or we have a phone free table. Just recently it sounds simple to many folks is we don't have, our kids don't watch iPads at the table.

Now does that mean it's perfect? Do we always do? Well, no, but we're trying, we're trying to say like, we don't have to always be on our devices and our screens. And so one of the ways is putting them things down.

But another one is learning these tools with our children. One of the things, there's a difference between what I call active screen time and passive screen time. So active meaning that they're doing, you're actively doing something rather than just scrolling or just mindlessly kind of doom scrolling through social media or various articles and stuff.

Doing something active. So emailing, sharing, kind of interacting, drawing, creating, coding, whatever is you're doing something a little bit more active. So we try to teach that to our children as well. I'll let them play an educational game for a long, longer time than I'll let them watch a YouTube video. Sure.

Because there's an, they're actively engaged versus passive. And I think those are some of the kind of habits we can start to form over time is teaching better ways to use technology rather than just saying, you know, here's a device, just go for it. Or saying, Oh, all technology is bad.

You can't use it. Right. Right. We have to train. This isn't, this is the world in which our children will inhabit and are inhabiting and they're not going to be able to be off devices forever.

That's right. So let's model better habits. Let's model better kind of ways of engaging these things, not only for our children sake, but also our own of course. So that we can ultimately go back to that idea of loving God and loving our neighbor through the use of our technologies in the same way that technology is discipling us. If we rely on that technology to entertain our children or those, those young people that we just don't have time for, well, they're, they will be discipled. And unfortunately there's so much evil out there.

You have to be very careful what they consume. Yeah. Thank you for that word, Jason. I'm, we're grateful that you're here.

If you haven't already heard, Jason's written a book called the age of AI, and it's available anywhere you can buy your books. There's also an audio form if you want to just listen to the book while you're driving, but not while you're listening to words of life, of course, come back and join us next week. God bless you. The Salvation Army's mission, doing the most good means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission. Every time you give to the Salvation Army, visit to offer your support. And we'd love to hear from you. Email us at radio at Call 1-800-229-9965 or write us at P.O.

Box 29972 Atlanta, Georgia, 30359. Tell us how we can help share prayer requests or share your testimony. We would love to use your story on the air. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes or your favorite podcast store and be sure to give us a rating. Just search for the Salvation Army's words of life. Follow us on social media for the latest episodes, extended interviews, and more. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. This is Bernie Dake inviting you to join us next time for the Salvation Army's Words of Life.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-12 01:18:19 / 2023-04-12 01:24:35 / 6

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