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Sounds like you got a smart wife there my friend! I'm with you on the eating your own dogfood approach. A marriage counselor with a crappy marriage might be able to give good advice, but that won't make him a good counselor because the advice will probably not be taken by the clients.
Anyway, I just realized that I didn't have you in my Google Reader and was just hoping over here when I saw links from you on twitter or facebook. I've resolved that issue and will now be among your subscriber counts.
Thanks for the great posts over the year and keep up the good work.
What I didn't exactly dig in this chapter was the use of the Prodigal Son story as an illustration of left/right brain dominance and balance. I think it was too much of a reach to try to fit it.
Overall, this was a really good chapter and made up for some weaker ones previously,
Teens have always thought that they knew more than their parents. And now Google makes them think they have confirmed it! :-)
One thing that texting and similar technologies has done is give people more discrete means of communicating and accessing information. Teens may more easily hide their conversations from parents, etc using texting or IM with or without codes. I think the access to communications also has an effect on the power/control structure that Hipps brings up in this chapter.
Love your questions at the end of the post. I need to think about them more....
The prevailing thought, in Hipps' book and in the general population, is that virtual communities just make it easier to do what a lot of people are doing in "real" communities.
What I notice about the people blogging on this book and commenting (myself included) is representation from people who have had (in general) success with communities, are drawn to or intrigued by technology/media, and are more intentional about relationship - virtual or otherwise. That is to say, we might not be representative of the general population Hipps is referencing in this chapter or in the book as a whole.
Either way, if our culture is so ready to throw away relationships with people that share the same house, of course it will be ready to throw away relationships with people we've never seen in person. The technology is, at best, a minimal factor.
The bigger question is whether or not technology/media has led us to this disposable culture or not...
I am a part of several communities of both types. I tend to drift between them pretty easily and there are several people that are in more tan one of the communities I belong to. I really enjoy the conversations and sharing that goes on both online and in person. I really enjoy when a virtual connection becomes a "real friend" as you put it because we met in person.
I only see danger in virtual communities in so much as there is danger in anything that can draw us away from the 2 greatest commandments. I've been in both types of communities that were drawing me away from God and both types that helped me draw closer. In all cases, it has more to do with me than it did with the technology involved.
Going to read "part 2" on your blog now...
I applaud Phil for his desire to let the kids at the schools get to know him (and for him to get to know them). I admire Chris for how he uses his blog to help show his daughters and then his friends who he is.
I'm saddened that the "common" is not valued in our culture only the extreme/outrageous/different. And then only because it is those things.
To get to Phil's questions, I try not to just follow fame. I try to look for people that I think are modeling the things that I find important. I try to make sure that I find important what God has made important. It doesn't always work out for me.
The only reason I try to have for anyone to follow me is that I try to follow Christ. Anything beyond that is shooting for fame...
For me, I sometimes agree with him about the medium being the cause or motivation for some of the culture. And sometimes I think he's stretching it too much. In the end, I may have to chalk it up to human nature making it hard to see or acknowledge the things that do shape culture. When something that intends to shape or change us is blatantly obvious, it often fails in its efforts, or is at least strongly resisted. The things that are slower or more subtly are often more successful at changing/shaping...
Either way, I think most of the illustrations he has are good and make for some really great discussions.
I can recall the day and the events when I answered an altar call at age 13. I recall several emotions around that day. Looking back, however, I can't really recall a change in my life resulting from that event. Maybe it is like when you flip the switch and you get a bright flash and *pop* when the bulb burns out.
I have a very hard time with testimony too. I've come to realize that I actually fit the dimmer switch profile with respect to faith/salvation/etc and it is hard to characterize that in "testimony time". As such, I feel like my witness is diminished and it is hard to use "my story". Basically, our culture is not interested in the back story or character development. It likes the dramatic Damascus Road moments, the exciting "darkness to light" of the light switch.
I mean this with respect to testimonies and just about anything else in people's lives. Any "reality TV" show will serve as an example. They don't deal with real life. They go straight for the drama....