In the Fall of 2008, I preached a series of 3 messages dealing with idolatry. It wasn't a neatly-packed "series" with a cool name and graphics package like I usually like to do. It was more of a theme that the Lord kept bringing me back to over a period of a few weeks.
There was, "American Idolatry," a message based on the 1st and 2nd of the Ten Commandments. There was "Restoring the Family Altar" based on Joshua's call, "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord." Then there was "Living like Lot." This message about the dangers of backsliding was perhaps one of the most riveting I have ever preached, at least in terms of its impact on the preacher (me).
Each of these messages had at least 3 common threads. As I've mentioned, one of them was the concept of idolatry. Another commonality was the relationship of idolatry and its inevitable impact on the family. The third and most controversial common thread was my reference to teens, pre-teens, and their cell phones.
I am convinced that most Christian parents are making very unwise choices with the technology that they willingly make available to their children. To buy a 14 or 15 year old boy (or girl) a device that will allow them to browse the web, download and send pictures, send text messages with pictures (of heaven only knows what) attached, all the while assuming that your child is of such substantive moral stature to not be susceptible to the desires of the flesh is somewhere between naivety and foolishness.
Don't get me wrong...this is not a soap-box issue for me. The only three kids for whom I am ultimately accountable all live at my house. I can only offer wise Bible-based counsel. Parents remain, as they have always been, free to do with it what they choose.
But for those who think "Pastor Mike is off the deep end" let me introduce you to two of the leading thinkers in the Southern Baptist Convention. These men have both written articles on this subject in the last week.
Dr. Russell Moore is one of the brightest minds in the SBC today. As the dean of the school of theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Brother Russell is one of the most credible and respected voices in our denomination. That's why I was intrigued by his article today from The Baptist Press, the official news agency of the SBC.
Then there's this article by Dwayne Hastings, VP of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC. You might say the ERLC is the "social policy" arm of the denomination.
Then there's this recent blurb from Focus on the Family. Note the warning about cell phones and PDA's.
And last, but not least, there's this news story from this week in Tampa, Florida. This is no isolated incident. Mom and Dad, do a GOOGLE NEWS search and you'll get stories like this from across the nation.
I definitely hear the sounds of the evangelical cavalry riding in to help defend my position. I just hope we haven't lost our kids in the battle by the time they get here.