why I collect the cell phones at night

Al Mohler is reporting on a New York Times story about texting taking a toll.

….Katie Hafner offers a view into the lives of American teens. They are fanatical texters. As Hafner reports, “They do it late at night when their parents are asleep. They do it in restaurants and while crossing busy streets. They do it in the classroom with their hands behind their back. They do it so much their thumbs hurt.”

Authorities now blame excessive texting for sleep deprivation, distraction in school, poor grades, and even repetitive stress injuries. These teens are texting while they should be sleeping, and they are sleeping with the cell phone set to vibrate so that they can respond to texts from friends without waking parents.

….
Sherry Turkle, one of the most insightful analysts of digital culture, goes so far as to argue that texting is changing the way American adolescents develop. Instead of growing into independence and developing life skills, teenagers are texting mom several times a day, asking questions about decisions they should be learning to make.

On the other hand, texting also allows teens to be in almost constant and unbroken communication with peers, largely outside of parental control or knowledge. To be disconnected from the cell phone is to become a digital non-person for a period.

….
Christian parents bear the responsibility to monitor, supervise, and limit the digital exposure of their children…..Teens should not be allowed to sleep with cell phones in the bedroom, and parents need to set clear parameters for the use of phones for both voice calls and text messages. Commonsense rules will go a long way toward restoring sanity.

emphasis added.

Just trying to do what we can to assist with better decision making. Obviously kids will do what they are going to do and there is little we can do to stop it. But we can put some obstacles in the way.

I collect cell phones (and iTouch) when I go to bed. Our TV is password protected for any programs TV-14 or above. Our computer is password protected at logon. We change the passwords every 90 days or so.

Any other suggestions?

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New Atheists are boring victims

Charlotte Allen tweaks the new atheists, Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Hitchens et al. Nicely tweaked too. Here are the first five paragraphs to get you started, but go read it all.

I can’t stand atheists — but it’s not because they don’t believe in God. It’s because they’re crashing bores.

Other people, most recently the British cultural critic Terry Eagleton in his new book, “Faith, Reason, and Revolution,” take to task such superstar nonbelievers as Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins (“The God Delusion”) and political journalist Christopher Hitchens (“God Is Not Great”) for indulging in a philosophically primitive opposition of faith and reason that assumes that if science can’t prove something, it doesn’t exist.

My problem with atheists is their tiresome — and way old — insistence that they are being oppressed and their fixation with the fine points of Christianity. What — did their Sunday school teachers flog their behinds with a Bible when they were kids?

Read Dawkins, or Hitchens, or the works of fellow atheists Sam Harris (“The End of Faith”) and Daniel Dennett (“Breaking the Spell”), or visit an atheist website or blog (there are zillions of them, bearing such titles as “God Is for Suckers,” “God Is Imaginary” and “God Is Pretend”), and your eyes will glaze over as you peruse — again and again — the obsessively tiny range of topics around which atheists circle like water in a drain.

First off, there’s atheist victimology: Boohoo, everybody hates us ‘cuz we don’t believe in God. Although a recent Pew Forum survey on religion found that 16% of Americans describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated, only 1.6% call themselves atheists, with another 2.4% weighing in as agnostics (a group despised as wishy-washy by atheists). You or I might attribute the low numbers to atheists’ failure to win converts to their unbelief, but atheists say the problem is persecution so relentless that it drives tens of millions of God-deniers into a closet of feigned faith, like gays before Stonewall.

hat tip to art.

biblical illiteracy

Randy Alcorn is concerned about the level of Biblical illiteracy in the church today, even among its leaders. It is a very real concern.

Biblical illiteracy among Christians is arguably at an all time high, with chilling implications that can hardly be overstated. I know that various things in the church will inevitably change, such as songs and hymns taking on new forms, and that’s fine. What isn’t fine is for God’s people to neglect His Word.

….

Most importantly, the Bible itself is a book, sixty six books in one. If our young people are not readers, then they will not be readers of God’s Word. If they aren’t readers of God’s Word, their spiritual lives will dead end. The church’s future leaders will not know what God has said, and when that happens how can the church function as the body of Christ when it is disconnected from the mind of Christ?

We’re already seeing the first wave of biblical illiteracy among many current church leaders. When Scripture says an elder must be “able to teach” this implies much more than communicative skill. It requires an active working knowledge of God’s Word. In my opinion, no one should be a church leader—whether an elder or overseer or pastor who anyone who gives direction to the church—unless he is a daily student of God’s Word and knows it far better than he knows the contestants on Survivor and American Idol. And he should be far more passionate about Scripture than about television programs, movies, golf, football, NASCAR, politics, blogging, or other interests.

……

…if pressed to name the twelve tribes of Israel (in many cases, even the apostles), they wouldn’t get more than a couple. Ask “give two passages that indicate Christ is the only way to God,” and you won’t have to wonder why people are not sharing their faith in Christ. They don’t know what to share. How can you share what you don’t know? How can you know if you do not know God’s Word?

God promises His Word will not return to Him empty, without accomplishing the purpose for which he sent it. God’s Word, in the hands of His Holy Spirit, has the power to transform lives, to shape them for eternity. But our sanctification, as individuals and families and churches, can only go so far if we are not steadily gazing into God’s Word. Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy Word is truth.”

friday fotoes

My lovely wife and I celebrated 20 wonderful years of wedded bliss last weekend in Grapevine at the Gaylord Texan.
gaylord texan

Gaylord Texan

and the sky was really funky one evening this week
sunset

here we are on self timer
Gaylord Texan

some questions for “a Latina Judge”

Judge Sonia Motomayor, Barack Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court, is really an amazing piece of work. Matthew Franck has more from the speech she gave in which she declared that a wise latina will generally make better judicial decisions than a white male. He also has some questions.

published as “A Latina Judge’s Voice,” 13 Berkeley La Raza Law Journal 87 (2002). These lines are from the last of its seven pages:

I can and do aspire to be greater than the sum total of my experiences but I accept my limitations. I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate.

There is always a danger embedded in relative morality, but since judging is a series of choices that we must make, that I am forced to make, I hope that I can make them by informing myself on the questions I must not avoid asking and continuously pondering. . . .

These remarks, prompt some questions, such as: What exactly do you think are those occasions when your “sympathies and prejudices are appropriate” in reaching a decision? And when did the Supreme Court “suggest” that there would be such occasions in the exercise of the judicial function? Why do you think that judging is a “series of choices” that you “must make” rather than a series of discernments of those choices that the law has already made? What have you learned in your study or practice of law and judging that makes you believe that judging is an exercise in “morality”? Is there a role for moral discretion for the judge interpreting the Constitution or a statute—the principal business of federal appellate judging? What would that role be? And while it’s refreshing that you recognize the “danger embedded in relative morality,” yet you appear to embrace it nonetheless as inevitable for a judge; so what do you mean by “relative morality”? It sounds like “relativism,” or the notion that morality is inherently subjective, to be guided by the passions rather than reason. It’s a dubious business to assign to judges the role of moralizers or moral philosophers in the first place; isn’t it infinitely worse to suppose they are to be, not moral reasoners, but moral emotionalists?

emphasis added.

my previous post has a video where she admits frankly that interemediate appellate judges “make policy.” The quote above shows that she is perfectly willing to admit that, at least in some instances, she believes that making that policy involves an “appropriate” use of her own “opinions, sympathies and prejudices.”

I mean really what can you say? It is just amazing to me that she feels no need to obfuscate the fact that she believes judges make policy and use their own biases and prejudices to do so. She feels that she can come right out and say it without euphemism or cloaking of any kind.

I wonder if she will be able to do anything toward building coalitions on the Court. If she feels that she should just nakedly assert her own prejudice in decision making, then it might be difficult to persuade other justices to join her in such a project given that they may have different biases and prejudices that they feel should be indulged at the expense of the rule of law.

It will be an interesting and tragic thing to watch over the next 25 to 30 years. Just wow. Remember always that elections have consequences and this is one of them.

self-righteousness is no respecter of persons

courtesy of vitamin z, I ran across Tullian Tchividjian’s excellent post on the double reach of the disease of self-righteousness. good stuff.

Now, it’s very interesting that in the Bible it’s always the immoral person that gets the Gospel before the moral person. It’s the prostitute who understands grace; it’s the Pharisee who doesn’t. It’s the unrighteous younger brother who gets it before the self-righteous older brother. Tim’s book points this out well.

There is, however, another (perhaps more subtle) side to self-righteousness that younger brother types need to be careful of. There’s an equally dangerous form of self-righteousness that plagues the unconventional, the liberal, and the non-religious types. We anti-legalists can become just as guilty of legalism in the opposite direction. What do I mean?

It’s simple: we can become self-righteous against those who are self-righteous. Many younger evangelicals today are reacting to their parents’ conservative, buttoned-down, rule-keeping flavor of “older brother religion” with a type of liberal, untucked, rule-breaking flavor of “younger brother irreligion” which screams, ”That’s right, I know I don’t have it all together and you think you do; I know I’m not good and you think you are. That makes me better than you.” See the irony?

go read the rest to see the cure.

piper on driscoll

Here is a blog post containing six minutes of audio of John Piper discussing the controversy between John MacArthur and Mark Driscoll. Very interesting indeed.

If you want a more complete narrative of the fuss, Jonathan Christman has a nine part run down focusing on Phil Johnson and Mark Driscoll including Phil Johnson’s letter to Mark and Mark’s video response. Again, very interesting indeed.

Here is a page with all of the links to Jonathan’s posts about the matter. I found parts VII, VIII and IX to be the most interesting.