Brett.Ullman

Has our technology surpassed our human interactions?

Person holding smart phone in hands to communicate and text

The other week my parents took my family out for breakfast. I was watching my daughter and son talking to my father and my wife was talking to my mother. I looked around the restaurant for a second and what I saw was incredible. In the entire restaurant there was not a single child (teen, young adult) who was not on some sort of iPhone or iPad. 20+ tables and everyone was ignoring everyone at their table and in their own world. Even the parents were not much better. Over 50% of the parents were on their phones. One table had 2 kids and 4 adults (+2 grandparents). Both the kids and all the adults were on their phones and the grandparents were just staring blankly at everyone.

“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

I think we have reached that day. Our human interactions are clearly suffering due to the technology in our lives. Side note: this quote is often said to be Albert Einstein. It is not.

The Quote Investigator points out that there is no absolute evidence to prove that Albert Einstein ever said this.

The quote(s) in question was in fact derived from the 1995 movie “Powder“.  Near the end of the film, there is a dialogue between Powder played by Sean Patrick Flanery and a character named Donald Ripley, a physics teacher, played by Jeff Goldblum.

Donald Ripley: It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.

Powder: Albert Einstein.

Donald Ripley: When I look at you, I have hope that maybe one day our humanity will surpass our technology.

click here for this article

So what do we do with this issue. Here are some thoughts:

  1. When you go out to  restaurant I think families should make a rule about technology. In my house we do NOT let our kids bring their iPads in. Eating out is a time for interaction between people. We will talk and engage in conversation throughout the meal. My daughter has an iPhone and she is allowed to bring it but she knows it will not be out the entire meal. Are there times you will check a phone for something during a meal … sure. You might be checking movie times for later that day or planning out something on your schedule. These things are short periods of time on your phone and you should get back to regular conversation quickly.
  2. We need have some time during the day where we are not “available” on our phones. I am trying to turn off my phone around 8:30-9pm each night. I will answer emails, texts and phone calls the next day when I get up.
  3. Even when we are at home I think we need these rules. I know some families who collect all the phones in a basket for dinner. One family I know put all the phones in a large pot and by mistake put then pot on the stove onto the hot burner. 4 melted iPhone 6’s later they have decided that they will not be using a pot anymore. 🙂
  4. I think that some families are so disconnected that you might need to work on conversation. How about each person at the table answers “How was your day today? Say something good and something bad that happened to you today?
  5. I think these things are great discussion in your yearly family meeting (see blog on family meetings here)

What rules do you have in your house?

Do you think we technology has surpassed human interaction?

 

Coldplay – Up&Up (Official video)

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Stunning music video. Check it out!

 

Lyrics:

fixing up a car to drive in it again
searching for the water hoping for the rain
up and up, up and up
down upon the canvas, working meal to meal
waiting for a chance to pick your orange field
up and up, up and up
see a pearl form, a diamond in the rough
see a bird soaring high above the flood
it’s in your blood, it’s in your blood
underneath the storm an umbrella is saying
sitting with the poison takes away the pain
up and up, up and up it’s saying

we’re going to get it get it together right now
going to get it get it together somehow
going to get it get it together and flower
oh oh oh oh oh oh
we’re going to get it get it together I know
going to get it get it together and flow
going to get it get it together and go
up and up and up

lying in the gutter, aiming for the moon
trying to empty out the ocean with a spoon
up and up, up and up
how come people suffer how come people part?
how come people struggle how come people break your heart?
break your heart
yes I want to grow yes I want to feel
yes I want to know show me how to heal it up
heal it up
see the forest there in every seed
angels in the marble waiting to be freed
just need love just need love
when the going is rough saying

we’re going to get it get it together right now
going to get it get it together somehow
going to get it get it together and flower
oh oh oh oh oh oh
we’re going to get it get it together I know
going to get it get it together and flow
going to get it get it together and go
up and up and up

and you can say what is, or fight for it
close your mind or take a risk
you can say it’s mine and clench your fist
or see each sunrise as a gift

we’re going to get it get it together right now
going to get it get it together somehow
going to get it get it together and flower
oh oh oh oh oh oh
we’re going to get it get it together I know
going to get it get it together and flow
going to get it get it together and go
up and up and up

we’re going to get it get it together right now
going to get it get it together somehow
going to get it get it together and flower
oh oh oh oh oh oh
we’re going to get it get it together I know
going to get it get it together and flow
going to get it get it together and go

up and up and up

oh-oh oh, oh-oh oh oh oh oh

fixing up a car to drive in it again
when you’re in pain
when you think you’ve had enough
don’t ever give up
don’t ever give u

When disaster relief brings anything but relief

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I remember talking to a Director of a Charity that works with the homeless in Toronto a few years ago. He told me how frustrating it is when local churches, schools and other groups just hop on a bus, head downtown and start handing out sleeping bags, food and toiletries (toothbrushes, deodorant etc) to people on the streets of Toronto. He told me that there are some days when people come into their shelter to get meals or to sleep in the evening and everyone seems to be carrying 2-3 sleeping bags, multiple bagged lunches and a backpack of toothbrushes etc. He said he wished local churches would actually call up local shelters and ask them what they really needed. I have never forgot that statement. His point was these organizations are already on the ground in these areas and they know better what things the people they are serving year round actually need.

Thinking of the Fort McMurray fire last week I was talking to a pastor and he said his church was doing a clothing drive for the people of Fort McMurray. I asked if that is what relief organizations, or the Mayor of Fort Mac or even the people who are displaced are asking for? He paused and said “I have no idea.”

I think that there needs to be some intentionality behind the desire to help. I am not saying we don’t help. Just saying we need to think a little before we assume what other people might need.

This article is a decent conversation on this topic. Love to hear your thoughts.

Click here for the entire article.

It’s Not ‘Cute’ When Dads Threaten My Son For Dating Their Daughter

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Wow, such a great article.

If you’d like to protect your daughter, raise her in such a way that she can protect herself. Give her the tools to decipher a dangerous situation. Teach her the language of consent and how to exit a situation that makes her uncomfortable. Help her be confident about her decisions, and show her how to make good choices about the people she spends time with. Take the time and be involved in her life.

Protect your son in the same ways. And, for goodness sake, if you have good reason to distrust their judgment, make sure their activities are safe and monitored.

Above all, realize and come to terms with the fact that teenage sexuality is not a “boy thing.” Teenage sexuality is a teenage thing. Young men and young women alike are going to be curious, interested, and looking to learn more about sex.

Your daughter is just as curious as my son, I can virtually guarantee it. Yet you don’t see me polishing a shotgun when she comes over to do homework. You don’t see me posting pictures on Facebook with watered-down threats about personal harm should I find out she gets handsy with my son.

The idea of threatening young women to keep their hands off young men is ludicrous, yet when roles are reversed it’s completely accepted and even encouraged. Why? In order to raise a generation of kind and respectful men we have to stop telling our boys they’re inherently bad (but it’s not their fault because hormones).

Click here for the entire article.

Open letter to Praise and Worship musicians

christian music concert with raised hands with one person is center worshiping

Open letter to Praise and Worship musicians.

A Challenge on language.

Side Note: There are so many articles (worship wars etc) that I see on a weekly basis. I am hoping that this is a simple issue of language. This letter is not open season on worship leaders. I hope it is a simple challenge with a simple solution.

My Background: I have been a speaker for the past 18 years (10 years full-time) I have travelled across Canada and the US to over 2000 churches, camps and conferences. I have had a chance to see hundreds of musical worship artists and bands over these years.

The Deconstruction:

In almost all of the services I attend the musical worship time starts the same.

“Please stand and worship.”
“Let us all stand and worship.”
“Are you ready to worship God today?”

I was in a church the other week and the congregation was asked to stand. 5 rows in front of me was a 70+ older gentleman. After being asked to stand I watched him shuffle forward and sit on the end of his seat. He then took a few really deep breaths and he then began to slowly stand. I could see the strain it took him just to get his body to stand. Once standing he leaned over a little and held onto the chair in front of him with both hands.

Watching this man made me think about my own journey. In this moment I wondered if the language we use needs to change.  Personally with my own struggles with an anxiety disorder standing in one place is one of the worst things for me. When I am asked to stand I know I have 2 choices:

  • I stand and then I hold onto the chair in front of me while my anxiety rises and I begin to feel dizzy. My goal becomes to survive standing and the idea of participating in the musical worship is far from me.
  • I stay seated. I often do this but I then feel bad. The instruction was to stand and I am not doing that, not out of rebellion but out of necessity. The people around me often give me weird looks not knowing my journey.

I think there are numerous people in our Christian church world who might struggle standing:

  • Elderly
  • People with injuries
  • People with physical illness and chronic pain
  • Parents of small children not sleeping through the night.
  • People exhausted from struggles sleeping
  • People struggling with Anxiety Disorders. Statistics say this would be 40% or more of your congregation of all age levels.
  • probably others I am missing from this list as well

Is the assumption people can only worship God standing?

“A Leader is someone who looks at the world and says it does not have to be this way … and does something about it.” Muskoka Woods Leadership Studio

So I simple say maybe it does not have to be this way….

The Reconstruction:

If we are going to deconstruct a structure we must look at what we might construct to offer an alternative to that structure.

I would love to hear language more inclusive for all people. Something like:

Welcome, I want you all to feel free to worship God however you want to worship God during the songs we play. Feel free to

  • Stand
  • Sit
  • Kneel
  • Come to the front or stay in your seats
  • Raise your hands or keep them on your lap
  • Close your eyes or keep them open
  • Sing or just think and pray through the lyrics
  • Read the lyrics and know what you are singing. Some of today of praise and worship songs have powerful lyrics of allegiance and alliance to the kingdom of God.

This is your time to worship God however you might worship God.  It’s not a choral sing. A musical worship leader is to create an environment where we can corporately / individually worship God. If the language of “everyone stand” hinders someone then it can easily be corrected by adding a few sentences.

I think that sometimes we forget to lead in this aspect and we are just singing songs and asking people to join us.  I would challenge all of you to free people and empower people in musical worship.

Thoughts on this?

 

 

Reclaiming Sex in the Church

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Parents please make sure you are having these conversations with your kids.

To this day, I thank God for a mother who willingly went there with me and continued to go there as I had questions throughout my developmental years. She met my curiosity with sound, honest answers. I never felt ashamed or embarrassed to ask her about sex because she allowed it to be a safe topic.

  1. Remove the Shame
  2. Have Realistic Expectations
  3. Know God Better
  4. Talk about Sex

And I think it starts in the home. Parents are the most powerful agents in helping their children explore, clarify, and understand sexuality. Even in choosing to be silent, parents are reinforcing curiosity and confusion around the topic. I am not a parent, and I cannot imagine the discomfort I would feel walking in on my 10-year-old child masturbating or watching pornography. I would most likely want to avoid the topic at all costs. But discomfort is not an excuse for avoidance. I believe parents have the privilege, and simultaneous responsibility, to create a safe place for their children to discuss all aspects of sex.

Being a parent means having the tough conversations even if we don’t want to. If you don’t teach your kids on these topics someone else will. We don’t want current pop culture teaching our kids about sex.

Click here for the entire article.

The Power of Vulnerability | Brene Brown | TED Talks

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Amazing talk! Please check it out.

Brene Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share

In order for connection to happen we have to allow ourselves to be seen.

There was only 1 variable that separated the people who had a strong sense of love and belonging and the people who really struggle for it and that was the people who had a strong sense of long and belonging believe their worthy of love and belong. Thats it. They believe their worthy.

The one thing that keeps us out of connection is our fear that were not worthy of connection.

Everything My Church Taught Me About Sex and Marriage is Wrong

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Some really good points here.

Most talks and sermons on physical intimacy and marriage are compartmentalized. It is about sex… and then marriage, or it is about marriage… and then sex. Sex becomes an “add-on” to marriage much like a shed out back is an “add-on” to a house. It doesn’t have anything to do with the actual relationship, nothing to do with the structural integrity of the house itself. It’s just a bonus.

Because of this, my understanding of sex became naturally one-sided. What I heard was, “I’m going to love having sex. It will make me feel great.

Click here for the entire article.

Beyonce is Destroying Your Daughter, Not Empowering Her

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We seem to have lost any internal critical reflection in our society. We seem to blindly accept everything without giving it a second thought.

Some really great thoughts in this article on Beyonce and her new album. (note: lyrics are extremely sexual)

But, as I said, I could lob that criticism at most of what we consume in this culture. So much of it is bland, superficial, repetitious, existing for its own sake. Devoured quickly, with little intellectual effort, leaving you still hungry and slightly nauseated. I find it therefore annoying and confusing when people speak of Beyonce’s alleged genius, but the unwarranted intellectualization of vapid, empty nonsense is not the most troubling aspect of all of the Beyonce adulation in this culture. The most troubling aspect is that her music is called ”empowering.”

Never mind that “Beyonce” is more a brand than a person. The lady herself is a person, but what’s presented to the world is a carefully constructed and marketed product. It’s a narrative, a story, a walking and talking fantasy novel for girls. I don’t know how much of the final manuscript is Beyonce’s brainchild and how much comes from the team of people around her, but rest assured that everything we see is manufactured. This, after all, is a woman who hired a “visual director” to follow her around and document and stylize her every move.

Love to hear peoples thoughts on this.

Click here for the entire blog.

As I was writing this blog I was reminded of the SNL skit below for anyone who might say something negative about Beyonce. Enjoy