Monday, October 24, 2011

The Next Story - #6

Information (Chapter 7: More is better)

We live among so much information, that we have little time for wisdom.
“Information is not enough. The Christian life is one that is spent in the constant pursuit of wisdom for it is wisdom that allows us to live in a distinctly Christian way.” (3:29ff)
The starting point of wisdom is to know God. We hear little about wisdom, but we hear much about the benefits of information.
“Wisdom combines knowledge with experience to live with virtue. Every day we encounter data, information and knowledge, yet God calls us to live with wisdom (7:21ff).
Distraction (the previous chapter) and information are closely linked, as each distraction (email, text) brings us another nugget of information, making us feel that the distraction was worthwhile. Previously information was filtered – only a certain number of books were published. Now we have no filters – we have a glut of information, blogs, facebook, tweets, etc.

We have endless knowledge about people (where they were born, what they read, where they go), but we don’t truly know people. Hundreds of people are on the edges of our lives, but there are very few with whom we are intimately involved.

Challies then notes two potential problems with information and memory:

1. Outsourcing of memory – we don’t have to know things anymore, just know where to find the information. We think electronic memory is better than the brain. Why memorise the bible when I can look it up in a second?
The discipline of memorising teaches us and helps us to learn, as things enter our hearts. The information becomes knowledge, and then wisdom. “Empty minds will beget empty hearts and empty lives.” (38:50)

2. Eternality of information - Information online lives forever. Any blog, facebook message, photo is still online.

Forgetting is a blessing, a natural functioning of the human brain, it saves us from being owned by our memories. Yet we can reconstruct the most intimate parts of people’s lives by their search engine history, which is all retained online.
“Can a world that never forgets be a world that truly forgives?” (44:08)
Thankfully, our God does forget, he forgives our sin and remembers it no more.

Application – growing in wisdom
  • Get wisdom - Less information may lead to more wisdom. Seek out information that can be turned into useful knowledge and wisdom to live by.
  • Measure the input - Measure the sources of your information: TV, blogs, texts, newspaper, facebook. How much is useful information and how much is just noise?
  • Choose quality over quality - Which are the best sources of information you have? The worst? Cut out the worst ones: hide undiscerning facebook friends, unsubscribe to useless blogs and emails.
  • Simplify - your storage of information, store less.
  • Memorise scripture - it moves God’s words from our minds to our hearts to our hearts.
  • Make it count - Try to only access the information you need for your life and your faith. Move information to knowledge and wisdom.

Things to think about (some based on Challies’ questions):
  • When do you feel most overloaded by information? How might more information lead to less wisdom?
  • How could reduce the information in your life?
  • How have you outsourced your memory? What’s the value? What are the dangers?

On Wednesday: Truth / Authority (Chapter 8: Here comes everybody)

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