R.I.P. Deep Thinking

At the risk of not keeping your attention I won’t make this entry too long.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the state or lack-there-of of critical thinking abilities among people, especially as a pastor. People today tend to process many ideas and information without seriously thinking about anything in particular except in regard to the day-to-day getting along and what that entails.

For years now professionals have been cautiously leery about the internet and social networking fearing how it is affecting the our ability to process things deeply not merely with a shallow once over and moving on to something else without full cognition of what they just read. I remember back in my youth ministry days when I researched and presented “Gen X” to our leadership in order for them to better understand the teens in our church. Back in the mid 90s already psychologists and sociologists were claiming that this forming Google generation is able to process a lot of information not necessarily holding to any one opinion and actually being able to hold two opposing views at the same time. Scary but true.

Recently in the winter addition of Leadership Journal I came across this gem affirming my concerns of which we should be aware and counter act for the sake of the church.

“As we cultivate the skill of scanning screens, many of us find it more difficult to read a book word by word and line by line. We seem to cultivate either the skill of deep reading or the skill of scanning… but it is difficult to maintain both skills.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt publicly worried about the effect this kind of reading — and about the impact of the internet as a whole: ‘I worry that the level of interrupt, the sort of overwhelming rapidity of information — is in fact affecting cognition. It is in fact affecting deeper thinking.’

A good portion of the Christian life requires the ability to concentrate and focus on ideas over long periods of time. Spiritual depth requires the ability to pray for more than a few minutes, to read and memorize Scripture — not to search for it online, and to love God with our hearts AND minds. This means that we must be careful to cultivate and retain the skill of deeply reading and deeply contemplating the things of God, something the Internet and digital technologies do not seem to foster.” — John Dyer in From the Garden to the City: the Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology (Kegel, 2011).

So think about going deep with your spiritual walk. There is so much value in practicing spiritual disciplines in order to grow as a disciple.




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