The Point: (Re)Learning to Read

So, what’s your page limit these days? For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

A page shouldn’t be a tough thing to turn, but for countless smart-phone owners, reading books—either in paper or digital form—has become really hard.

“Last year, I read four books,” admits Hugh McGuire in the San Francisco Chronicle. “I needed a little something else…Something to scratch that little itch at the back of my mind—just a quick look at e-mail on my iPhone; to write, and erase, a response to a funny tweet…”

You see, he’s describing the battle that we all face in this age of distraction. Constantly available electronic stimulus in various forms is rewiring our brains—it’s making it difficult for us to read, and to think, deeply.

But here’s the good news: electronic detox is possible. McGuire went on to describe how banishing mobile devices just from his bedroom offered him the mind space he needed to settle back into books. To really love God with all our minds, and to deeply engage His book—and any others that are worthy of our attention—may mean that we do likewise.

Resources

Why can’t we read anymore?
  • Hugh McGuire | San Francisco Chronicle | December 24, 2015

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  • Tyler

    It’s a great idea! I recently heard about a study where college students were given simple math problems with a halftime break. One group got to keep their phones, the others didn’t. Not only did the no-phone group do worse on the test, during the break they stood by the locked up box that contained their phones during the break, and did WORSE on the second half of the test.

  • Just One Voice

    Thank you for posting! I am completely blown away by how digitally distracted our society has become. I do my best to NOT partake. (Books only on the bus as I commute to/from work, same rule in the bedroom, and VERY minimal phone usage at home when the kids are around & wanting to play.)

    This morning, after I got off the bus, I was walking behind a guy as we were crossing the road (within the crosswalk, walk signal was green, etc). A car came within inches of contact of this man, but he hardly noticed at all and just kept on walking while…..indulging in his phone.

    I was walking a bit faster, so as I passed him I said, “That was a close call, huh?” He didn’t respond. Didn’t even turn his head. Just lost in his phone.

    Another time, I picked something up for a guy and tried to give it back to him. He wrote me off instantly as someone who was trying to sell something. Now that one, I have grace for & understand, as there are plenty of people trying to sell you stuff in downtown. And actually, a few minutes later, he realized just what I had tried to do for him. He apologized and thanked me.