Make Faith Relevant to Online Experiences

Do you teach the tenets of your Christian faith in tandem with your children’s videogame and other online experiences? Do you make faith relevant to that part of their lives? Do you build a bridge between their Bible time and their ‘tech’ time? Or do you tend to separate the two?

One of the most interesting ways I have found to make faith relevant to kids who are very engaged with video games, various apps, and the internet in general is to juxtapose their technology experiences with your own Bible knowledge. This is a light, well-grounded, and active way to broaden their application of faith. It merges their faith with the blue light of their screen day, preventing  compartmentalization. In this way, faith moves into an area of their life often devoid of it.

Fostering Faith

Faith comes from hearing—and hearing by the word of God.  And so, by speaking the Word of God into their everyday online experiences, you will pique their curiosity about how the Bible makes sense of their online lives.  This dialogue will help their growing faith to penetrate their experiences. As a result, you will find even more natural, fitting ways to engage them this way.

Recently, I saw a good, big-picture post, The World Wants Your Family, by Martha Dunson.  In it she laid out a variety of ways to fight against secular cultural trends.  The first is living the traditional—now counter-cultural—form of family life: dad, mom and kids. Another is giving your children a form of schooling that excludes political ideological indoctrination. And finally, she mentions actively teaching your children the Christian faith.

By talking about how Christian themes and virtues can feed into tech experiences, we can guide our children toward sound principles and away from secular pitfalls in thinking.  They will develop a Bible-based frame of reference about what they see and hear online. Tech experiences and Truth are laid side by side in the forefront of their minds.

This is not to say that anything goes as long as you find some tenuous way to connect their experience to biblical wisdom.  You, of course, must place safeguards around media and technology. This is important for the mental and spiritual health of your family. Dunson reminds us about the benefit of restricting and supervising internet access as well as thinking critically about entertainment that kids watch. Set up those guardrails first. Then, thoughtfully–and even playfully–animate biblical truth and reality with the pixels as the foil.

How to Make Faith Relevant

As you develop your children’s character and open up their hearts by making biblical connections, you will be starkly reminded “there is nothing new under the sun.” And more so, you will see that the possible connections are endless.

Character development and Christian training occur when you draw connections. By this I mean connections between video game play, say, and Biblical stories, historical figures, Christian themes and biblical language. The biblical canon offers a rich and germane source of conversation.  In time, you see more clearly the impact of your children’s technology time on their heart and mind. You learn more about who they are and are becoming.

Try having casual, regular, Bible-based conversations about your children’s online experiences. Make it an ongoing dialogue. It may require some initial effort on your part to initiate and carry through on the concept. That’s a good thing, right? If you don’t do this, one whole area of your children’s life could be devoid of God-awareness.

The Good News

I am recommending, in particular, that you–in part–teach the tenets of your Christian faith in the context of technology commonly found in your home. For example, when biblical commands are considered against a particular videogame sequence or character’s actions, you often see a stark contrast. In other cases, a biblical story may seem similar to a character or scene that appears in a game. The good news (no pun intended): Because you know your children’s personality and general life experience, composing conversations about a dichotomy or similarity is easier than it may seem.

My next post will offer you sample dialogue as a demonstration of how you can make faith relevant to your children’s online lives.  More will follow in the coming months.

It Doesn’t Just Have to be Entertainment

3119433406 5d2daf6222 - It Doesn't Just Have to be Entertainment

Turn Entertainment into Enrichment with God in Mind

Have you ever considered directing your child’s entertainment into an enrichment experience that naturally leads to talk of God?

“Today I earned the RCXD on Arms Race!”

“I enchanted my Diamond Chestplate to Bane of Arthropods!”

Admittedly, these exclamations from your child sound like undecipherable mumbo-jumbo. But consider listening when your child tells you about his last videogame session. Don’t shut down this byway of communication.  After all, his eager description is the seed by which you can mold his experience of solo entertainment into enrichment—and a pathway to contemplate God.

Turn entertainment into enrichment that leads to God.

For example, say your child just played (for the 100th time) Call of Duty II like so many preteens do. Enrichment may look like having a WWII documentary queued up that evening. Alternatively, you could initiate a dinner conversation about the war in which a family member served. Continue reading

Add a Biblical Insight: Turn a Child’s Anecdote into a Deeper Exchange to Encourage Biblical Thinking

Parent Encouraging Biblical Thinking at the Grand Canyon 300x400 - Add a Biblical Insight: Turn a Child’s Anecdote into a Deeper Exchange to Encourage Biblical ThinkingAdd a biblical insight to conversations with your child as they share their online experiences.

For today learn one thing that happened in your child’s online universe. Ask “So what happened today when you were online with your friends/at school?” or “What interesting/funny thing happened when you were playing Animal Crossing with your brother?”

If your talkative child shares an anecdote, ask some version of “What did you think about that?” to go deeper. To your reticent child, “Can you tell me a little more about that?” may encourage them to open up more.  If they know you will really listen to their answer, they are more likely to give you a real anecdote.

Thank them simply for sharing and then offer a relevant insight or explanation to encourage deeper processing of their experience.

Later that evening, how can you revisit that conversation to encourage biblical thinking?  Can you offer a biblically-related insight tomorrow?  If one does not come to mind, plan to spend 15 minutes of your free time—maybe when you’d normally check Facebook—to find one. Start by looking up a relevant word in the concordance at the back of your Bible or using an online search engine.

For example, perhaps your younger child saw his first fighting game on Roblox, or your Continue reading