Study Guide: Bad Robots

Sunday September 29, 2019 | Dan Kent

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

Social media can control our lives, forming our minds and our actions without our even knowing that it's happening. While there is great benefit to social media, we must also recognize it's dangers and develop a plan to live differently. Otherwise, we will end up looking like we aren't part of God's kingdom.

Extended Summary:

This series, entitled Interfaces, is about developing the spiritual posture in order to handle the dangers and pitfalls of social media. If we do not foster this spiritual posture, we become soft robots. That is, we operate according to patterns that are handed to us by social media and thereby we lose control of our actions. We end up doing what we do not want to do.

In this sermon, Dan identifies three issues specifically related to social media and offers three strategies for addressing them.

  1. We are automated selves. We are designed as machines that can handle incredible amounts of information. Our bodies are quite incredible, and as a result there are aspects of our lives that are automated. We walk, breathe, see and act without thinking. In addition, there are aspects of the way that we think and talk that are automatic. They are developed to the point that they are simply part of their operating system of life.

In response, we must recognize that spiritual warfare is in large part the act of taking back control of our operating system. We must examine our lives and our ways of thinking and see how how we are automatically living in ways that do not reflect God’s desires for us. This requires intentional living so that the world does not program our machines.

  1. We tend to become de-centered. It is quite easy to live for the sake of appearances, especially in our online interaction. As a result, we end up living to impress instead of living out of the truth of the center of our souls. In online communication, we are not living in communicating, we are addressing an audience. We were made to live from the inside out, but this focus on the audience causes us to live from the outside in.

To address this, we must intentionally focus on the center of who God has made us to be. As we cultivate out identity as we truly are, then we can live out of our identity as God’s children and resist the pull of trying to impress the audience. One way to do this is to focus on the fact that Jesus is present with us right here, right now.

  1. We tend to become un-attended selves. We give our attention to things with external stimuli, allowing whatever arises through social media to take over our minds. As a result, we become numb brains receiving whatever comes at us through social media.

A helpful strategy of response is to develop an attention plan, identifying the things that are worthy of your focus.

God does not want us to be soft robots, being controlled by external stimuli and going along for the ride of social media. He has invited us to live counter-culturally, giving our attention to the ways of the kingdom so that we can be formed to live differently.

Reflection Questions: