Do You "Waste Time" on the Internet?
The University of Pennsylvania is now offering a course called “Wasting Time on the Internet.” Apparently the professor was tired of all the negativity surrounding the amount of time people spend online.
“I'm very tired of reading articles in the New York Times every week that make us feel bad about spending so much time on the internet, about dividing our attention so many times,” said course professor and renowned poet Kenneth Goldsmith.
So for three hours at a time, students will sit in class and “waste time” surfing the Internet on their laptops, phones, and tablets.
There’s a method to the madness, and there is homework involved based on the students’ discoveries on their task of “wasting time.” I have to admit, this professors reasoning intrigues me. I’m not sure I’d sign up for the class myself (okay, of course I would—do you know how many great YouTube videos I have yet to watch?), but I like the point he’s making.
The Internet isn’t the life-sucking, time-sucking evil monster that most of us make it out to be. As this professor argues, the presence of the Internet has people writing and reading far more than they did pre-Internet, even if that writing and reading aren’t on the level of Shakespeare.
From a spiritual standpoint, yes, there are plenty of dangers to the Internet, but look at how it helps spread the gospel. (You’re reading this post through a Christian ministry on the Internet, after all!) Look how it can encourage people and connect Christians to causes around the world. Look at how technology allows us to read the Bible on our smartphones, anytime, anywhere.
There’s a lesson for all of us in Professor Goldsmith’s message. We tend to view a lot of things in life through a lens of extremism, casting a sweeping verdict over something as good or bad, when it may in fact be both.
This is true of countless things beyond just the Internet—things like contemporary worship, wealth, material possessions, youth extracurriculars, success, the media, physical appearance, etc. It’s easy to form a strong opinion about them—believing they are either totally wonderful or pure evil. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Toss those extremist glasses aside and view gifts like the Internet as tools God can use for good—within reason, of course.
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