[forthright] Give Attention To Reading

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2010 04:51:51 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
http://www.forthright.net 
Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: HEAVENLY CONNECTIONS

Give Attention To Reading
 by Tim Hall

Nicolas Carr's 2008 article in "The Atlantic" entitled,
"Is Google Making Us Stupid?" caught a lot of people's
attention.

To even ask such a question is audacious, one might
think. Isn't the purpose of Google to help us find
information on the Internet? How could finding new
information make us less intelligent?

Carr intensifies his argument in a new book, "The
Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains." In
a nutshell, here is what Carr claims: The way we browse
items on the Internet changes the way we focus on
information. 

We are acquainted with a greater array of information, 
but becoming less able to maintain a focus on that 
information.

"What we are losing is a whole other set of mental
skills, the ones that require not the shifting of our
focus but the maintaining of our focus," Carr said. He
has a prescription for those who feel their ability to
concentrate for long periods of time has diminished: 
"... turn off the Internet and practice the skills of
contemplation, introspection and reflection."

Carr seems to be in the tradition of others, such as
Marshall McCluhan, who made popular the phrase "the
medium is the message," in a 1964 book. How we receive
our information can affect how we process that
information.

Being able to properly process the information God
gives us, is vitally important. He has given us an
entire volume of messages, and we must not lose our
ability to concentrate on what he has said.

Paul spoke of the importance of maintaining a focus on
God’s word: "Till I come, give attention to reading, to
exhortation, to doctrine" (1 Timothy 4:13, NKJV).

The order of his instructions is not coincidental. If
we don’t give adequate attention to reading the
Scriptures, how will we know how to exhort one another?
What will we teach as doctrine? If we bypass
contemplative reading, how can we know our religion is
what God wants?

In another place, Paul wrote, "How that by revelation
he made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly
written already, by which, when you read, you may
understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)" 
(Ephesians 3:3,4).

Clear understanding of what was once a mystery depends
on careful reading.

When Philip approached the chariot in which the
Ethiopian was riding he asked a simple question: "Do
you understand what you are reading?" (Acts 8:30).

Today we can no longer assume they are reading. "Are
you reading what you are browsing?" might be the
inquiry needed.

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