A month or so ago, I posted about an article written in the Atlantic, titled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” In the post (here), I raised the question of how the medium of Bible software effects our ability to interpret the text .

I just came across another article that’s somewhat related – this one in The Times Online – “Stoooopid …. why the Google generation isn’t as smart as it thinks,” by Bryan Appleyard. The article’s quite a jeremiad. The tagline states that “the digital age is destroying us by ruining our ability to concentrate.” The article does not simply rail against Google or the information age, but it challenges the “distractedness” that comes with being electronically “connected.” This distractedness goes beyond computers and reaches into how we handle our actual flesh-and-bone lives. One particular quote stood out to me. One of the interviewees of the article stated that he found himself “loving novelty” and yet “craving depth”. What a beautiful way of putting it, unfortunately it’s downright scary for me to hear my own soul in his words. The article reminds me of a passage from Luke:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

Just how much do I miss because of my self-imposed technological distractions?

Sean McDonough (my original thesis advisor) preached a related sermon in the seminary chapel on November 20, 2007, titled “Virtually Communicating” (mp3).

On a somewhat related note: L. Gregory Jones (Dean of Duke Divinity School) has put out a small article about his use of Facebook, titled “My Facebook Friends.” The article is rather balanced. While he notes the advantages of Facebook in keeping in touch with folks, he states that “Facebook friends and social networking are not adequate substitutes for authentic friendship.”

BTW: While I was reading article by Appelyard, I was distracted by my Facebook Firefox toolbar, where my current status had not been updated, so naturally I had to update it. At least I made it through the article without skimming!