Pastor John and Noël are back in the Twin Cities. Thank you for your prayers as they traveled and ministered in Brazil and Argentina. The day the Pipers flew to South America, Tony Reinke flew to Texas to speak on campus at Texas A&M (or TAMU, as it’s affectionately called). There he spoke to students about social media, digital temptations, and smartphone habits. The topics for conversation centered around his books 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You and the new one, Competing Spectacles.
The campus assembly was put on by Ratio Christi TAMU and by The Veritas Forum. It was made possible by a new friend, Micah Green, who serves as the associate professor of chemical engineering at the school, and an old friend, Jared Oliphint, a PhD student in philosophy at TAMU, who moderated the event. In today’s episode of APJ, we’re releasing the hour-long campus conversation.
[5:54] Tony, tell us about yourself. What is your background, career, family life? Also, what is your role in the smartphone and social-media conversation?
[8:11] What are some of the psychological effects of phone and social-media usage? Are they linked to depression or similar issues?
[12:05] What is the role of our faith in how we respond to our phones and social media? Do we need to look outside the church for advice on how we use technology?
[15:25] Most people assume that spirituality is important for Christianity, and that it affects what we do with social media and smartphone usage. But what about physicality? Is physicality important for the Christian worldview? How does our smartphone usage relate to being present, being physically all there?
[23:50] Does social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat) deliver on the promises it makes — promises to connect us, inform us, make life better? What are both the good parts and the bad parts of using social media?
[32:16] How does social media affect our self-worth? What is the right way to think about self-worth and social media?
[39:47] What does it mean to be a social-media “influencer”? What should we think about that whole status?
[46:38] What has the greatest potential for good in the technology world, and what has the greatest potential for destruction?
[49:21] What are some of your personal habits you employ to help you use your phone and social media well?
[53:43] How do I cut out the negative sides of social media — such as bad videos on YouTube — while not cutting myself off from the positive material out there? Is it wise for churches and Christian organizations to even be using social-media platforms to reach people?
[58:40] What is the role of social media in evangelism? How can we use it for the glory of God and not self-fulfillment?
[1:00:39] What’s the best way to confront someone who you believe is addicted to social media?