Building Your Wisdom Pyramid: The Internet
Editor's Note: To start our New Year, we're going to be taking an in-depth look at author Brett McCracken's proposed "Wisdom Pyramid." Over the course of six days, we'll look at the roles that the Bible, the church, nature and beauty, books, the internet, and social media play in our lives.
By Aimee Fritz
If you're reading this, you're online. You've chosen to spend some of your time (perhaps wisdom acquisition time?) on a website dedicated to social justice. Where will you click next? One of the dozens of links on this page? Over to some cute animal videos on YouTube? Or will you get revved up in the constant sensationalism of the news cycle?
- How much time do you spend online? More to the point, how many hours a week (or day!) do you spend on internet rabbit trails, hopping from site to site, wondering where the time went?
- Where do you spend your time online? Does it increase your wisdom and understanding? Does it pull your heart closer to or further from God? Not to sound like a shaming Sunday School teacher, but sometimes it might be worth it to ask: would you want Jesus looking at whatever's on your screen?
- What sites nourish your soul? Do you follow your church, favorite authors, or thought leaders online? Do you use your screen time to read the Bible or other books? Does your time online guide you toward deeper sources of wisdom, joy, and gratitude?
- When you turn the screens off, do you feel refreshed and renewed? Or are you dazed, disoriented, or confused?
- If you don't know how much time you spend online, consider using a timer for one day—or even just for one hour. When you turn on your screen, set your phone timer for 10 minutes, or get up and use the timer on your microwave. How far did you get? After 10 minutes, were you just getting started with all your daily check-ins? Are you starving for more information? Have you done anything with the previous levels of the Wisdom Pyramid first? If you need more time, set the timer for another 10 minutes. See how much online time you need to be sated. Do you need to set a time limit tomorrow? (Many apps can help manage or curb your time on the internet. This article by Inc.com offers 6 suggestions.)
- If you don't know where to find nourishment online, make this a priority in the new year. Instead of passively receiving whatever comes through your feeds, you might need to actively go out and look for things that will feed you instead of deplete you. Scroll through the sites of people you trust to see where they find their information, and explore those places for yourself. In what areas would you like to develop an expertise?
- Spend time on sites curated by people championing different cultures, races, denominations, and ideas. Enter these sites as a humble, listening learner. When you learn something new, leave positive comments or share it on your own social media.
- Awareness and balance are essential to growing in understanding. If you can do so without succumbing to anger, go to the sites that frustrate you. Seek to understand the information being shared, and how it's shared. But a caution: until you've spent a long time on the other levels of the Wisdom Pyramid, and prayed for clarity and humility, do not engage. And it goes without saying, do not troll. Any website. Ever.
- What websites do you recommend in this quest for wisdom? Share with us in the comments!
Tomorrow we're tackling wisdom and social media, . Can they be found together?
Aimee Fritz delights in telling long, true stories about compassion, souls, and big mistakes among the everyday absurdities of her suburban life. Long ago she consulted companies, churches, and nonprofits. Now she runs Family Compassion Focus to funnel all that into helping people become lovable and loving World Changers. She recently co-wrote the Family Toolkit (free download) for Kent Annan's Slow Kingdom Coming: Practices for Doing Justice. Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly in the World (IVP). To arrange a meeting, a talk, or an article, contact Aimee via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).