There are two approaches to reading a text; one of myself as master and the text as slave, or its opposite.

It took me a few minutes (and much mental energy) to completely absorb this article from ACSD.org, but I knew that I needed to. The task of actually reading the article illustrates well the point of the article — it takes effort, focused and distraction-free effort, to tackle complex texts. In some places, I was bogged down and had to re-read a segment in order to pick up the message.

It is pandemic.

As the pull quote mentions, those of us who are “used to multitasking and hopping from link to link will have difficulty tackling complex texts—and college-level reading.” Society is not designed for slow digestion. We have many distractions taking place constantly. We willingly wrap ourselves with more and more ways to escape. All of it robs any chance to invest our time to self-improvement, improved literacy, self-awareness and heightened senses. We are quick to read tripe; however. We can rarely stomach anything more complex.

Time is a luxury in our busy world. It takes time to really read something that’s not already pre-processed and half-chewed. Sadly, we cannot afford to.

The issue that concerns me the most is this–What does this all of this imply about reading God’s Word?

The most understated segment of the article is about our posture as readers; A Receptivity to Deep Thinking.” When I read the news, I receive the data and I do with it what I wish. I interpret it how I wish. But when I read Scripture, I have to take an altogether different posture. I must surrender myself to the text. I must let it take me where it will–do with me what it wishes.  The Word of God must be Master and I must submit.

Check it out (but only when you’ve turned off your phone):

The network urges users to announce themselves—note the motto of YouTube: “Broadcast Yourself”—casting the receptivity to slow reflection as oppressive and antidemocratic. Adolescents love it, their budding egos so often tending to crave evidence of self-significance. An 18-year-old who has maintained a personal profile page for five years, created 10 cool videos, and issued 90 text messages a day may not be inclined to read 10 of the Federalist Papers and summarize each one objectively. He may be more inclined to say what he thinks of them than what each one actually says.

Complex texts aren’t so easily judged. Often they force adolescents to confront the inferiority of their learning, the narrowness of their experience, and they recoil when they should succumb. Modesty is a precondition of education, but the Web teaches them something else: the validity of their outlook and the sufficiency of their selves, a confidence ruinous to the growth of a mind.

[selection from Too Dumb for Complex Texts? by Mark Bauerlein found here.]

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