Brett.Ullman

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Has our technology surpassed our human interactions?

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?

 

Open letter to Praise and Worship musicians

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?

 

 

“Dating.For.Life 2.0” Resources – 26 Links & 100 Questions

With my new talk on dating now finished I have a ton of new resources. I figured I might as well send them out in a blog. Below are the 26 blogs, articles and websites that were the foundation for my new talk. Below that are all of the questions (100 questions) that you need to go through as you are growing in your dating relationship.
At the bottom of this list is also a link to my entire dating.for.life original talk.

Read More

Case for the Porn Project

It was 1996 I did my first talk at a church in Pickering to a room full of high school students. talking about music & media and how our faith plays a role in this. 10 years later I found my self speaking 45 times per year while still teaching full time with the Toronto District School Board. I left teaching that year and have been speaking full time with Worlds Apart since then.

In his book Holy Discontent Bill Hybels talks about finding out what your Holy Discontent (those things that continuously bother you) are and to walk into that space. That has been the theme for all of my talks for 19 years. Every few years I would add a talk (Self Harm, dating, men, sex, mental health) most recently pornography.

Last year we had the chance to film The Sex Talk which helps to empower and equip parents to help their kids get a Biblical worldview of healthy sexuality.

This year we are looking at filming a new talk I have created called the.Porn.Project

The Why: Present day statistics say that 50-60% of Christian Men and 20% of Christian Women are addicted to Porn. I have received emails from students as young as grade 5 and adults in their 90’s talking about struggles with pornography. We cannot continue to be silent in these issues of sexuality and in this case we need to deal directly with the issue of pornography.

The How: the.Porn.Project helps lay the foundation and equips & empowers people in this discussion. It goes through all of the areas we need to talk about to begin this conversation in our homes, churches and youth groups. It looks at theology, accountability, addiction, environmental changes, dating, our witness and others. We must break the cycle of failure by addressing head on this conversations.

The Goal: The goal of this project is that through this talk it will help create a culture where Christian parents and their teenagers are equipped and empowered to deal with the sexualized culture we live in and not get sucked into the cycles of addiction so many Christians seem to find themselves in. The goal is to have a Biblical yet practical response to this issue.

“I think the biggest reason why this talk is important, is because it’s not happening elsewhere. Save for a couple groups like xxxchurch and pure eyes, the biggest mention that it gets from the pulpit is “it’s a dirty secret that the church doesn’t talk about”… And that’s all they say, no one talks about it, and it’s a MASSIVE problem, not just for teens, for many men leading our churches today.”
Chris Burke, Center Point Church, PEI

“How do I teach my congregation about pornography when I have been addicted since I was in my 20’s?”
Pastor in Ontario

— “Help me… please. I am drowning in my porn addiction.”
Teenager in Alberta

As a speaker I am able to speak about 150 times a year. I am unable to speak at every church and school in the country. My talk The Wounding Embrace (mental health) is being used in churches from California to England, from Vancouver to St. Johns. I receive emails from people using the DVD or Digital download to help equip people in their churches to help people with mental health struggles. This is the same I want to do with the.Porn.Project.

I would like to film the.Porn.Project which will cost ~$9,000

$4,500 for filming and editing of the talk. It is the editing of the talk that is so time consuming as we need to incorporate a professionally designed Keynote presentation throughout the filmed talk. It gives people the same experience as if I was speaking live at their church or school.
$1,500 — Trailer for promotion
$1,500 — Creating Master copy of DVD, Creation of Graphics for DVD jacket and cover.
$1,500 — printing of 1000 DVD’s. The Talk is also put online on VimeoOnDemand.com and on Rightnowmedia.org
Total funds – $9,000 (Presently Raised $5000)

Needed $4000

We find as a small non for profit it is hard to raise funds. We are cut out of applying for most grants from foundations as we don’t reach their $250k minimum income. As a charity that has been around for almost 19 years we are not looking at raising funds for day to day operations but raising the funds specifically for this project. I presently speak over 100-150 talks a year that pay for all of the overhead costs of running Worlds Apart (office, equipment, salary etc.)

If you would like to chat more, please contact me at the email below. If you would like to make a donation please follow this link – https://www.canadahelps.org/dn/15850

Thanks for your consideration.
Brett Ullman Executive Director: Worlds Apart (worldsapart.org, brettullman.com)
brett@brettullman.com
905.626.4297

The.Sex.Talk now available on DVD or Digital Download

I am excited to announce that you can now get my new talk (for parents and leaders) called the.sex.talk on:

Digital Download – https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thesextalk

DVD – http://speaking.brettullman.com/shop-brett-ullman/sex-talk-dvd-detail.html

Description: Everyone likes to feel comfortable. In fact, we pad our lives with comforts of all kinds, and those things that make life uncomfortable for us we push as far from us as possible. If you’re like most people, you quietly withdrew as you read the title of this piece (the.sex.talk) in Christian context.

The Why: One scary statistic says that 70-80% of Christian Young Adults have had sex before they get married. We need to completely rethink how we engage students in this conversation as parents, youth leaders and as members of the greater Christian community. What a difficult time to grow up as a teenager; so many questions and so few people willing to answer them. As Christian adults, we cannot continue to be silent on these issues of sexuality.

The How: This talk helps equip and empower parents as to how to help their kids get a Biblical worldview of healthy sexuality. The.Sex.Talk is an unapologetic, straight-forward talk on the nature of sex in this era of modern, overly-sexualized culture. Addressing such issues as Christian faith, STI’s, pregnancy, pornography, sexting, singleness and grace, Brett Ullman tackles the often awkward and uncomfortable topic of sex in a direct, Biblical fashion linking current topics and trends with Biblical examples and principles.

The Goal: This project attempts to create and promote a culture where Christian parents and their teenagers are equipped and empowered to have this conversation resulting in better, healthier choices in the area of sex for their teenagers.

Our media-saturated culture consistently floods our minds with inaccurate, often twisted truths about the true nature of sex. As fellow journeyers, let’s ask the tough questions together as we look to connect our ancient faith with our modern world