PARENTS: Who is teaching your child, the iPad, the teacher you disagree with, or you?


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IS OUR PSYCHOLOGICAL DIET AS IMPORTANT AS OUR PHYSICAL DIET?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you to an op-ed piece in USA Today. It appeared about two weeks ago written by Art Friends, a clinical psychologist. He says — remember, you are what you eat and we apply that to what we eat physically — when you go into a restaurant, oftentimes, you see what the calorie count might be, how healthy it is for your life — you can make that decision.

However, he goes on to say, in particular, it is easy to not notice the unhealthy or even toxic ingredients in the massive amounts of television programming, social media apps and various tech and screen activities that we expose ourselves to each and every day.

PARENTS MUST MONITOR CHILDREN’S EXPOSURE TO TECHNOLOGY

DR. REEDER: Tom, let’s put the Christian world and life view framing around this upfront: parents need to be engaged, not simply in what is your child looking at on television and what is your child accessing through the technology of iPhones and iPads, but even should be they be in front of the television and should they even have that technology in their hands? And, if so, when and, if so, how do you engage in parental oversight?

Yesterday, we looked at the erosion of parental rights. Today, we want to look at actually activating your parental rights for your child’s nurturing environment as they grow up. And you’ve got to understand that, while television and technology are amoral — they’re not evil — they also are instruments. They are mediums and something is coming through them. It is not the iPhone that is the sin, but what is coming through the iPhone and what your child is accessing.

You type something in on your internet search because you want to shop for something and, the next thing you know, within ten hours, you got 30 ads by various companies on that object or related objects. Well, that happens way beyond the consumption of goods in terms of people that are using the internet to get into your life and determine what information’s coming to your life.

JESUS GIVES US SAGE GUIDELINES

What we’ve got to do, Tom, is believe our Savior. Our Savior said this. These are three phrases that He said related to the parable of the sower and a couple of other parables:

-Be careful who you listen to.

-Be careful what you listen to.

-Be careful how you listen.

Therefore, who, what and how you listen and realize that, when you move into the area of public broadcast or cable broadcast, to a certain degree you start losing control. And then your child, who has less abilities than you to make discerning decisions about who, what and how to listen through their use of television and technology, your child, many times, is out there in this wasteland that is utterly destructive.

You made a great point of nutritional information and knowing that you are what you eat. Well, spiritually and lifestyle, you are what you listen to, who you listen to and how you listen to it. Here’s what Jesus said when all is said and done, the pupil will become like his teacher. In other words, the blind will lead the blind and they both fall into the pit.

Who are you listening to? You’re going to start being affected too. What are you listening to? You’re going to be affected by it. How are you listening? You’re going to be affected by it. That’s why Paul commended the Bereans that they examined the Scriptures to see if these things are so. Learners must be discerning of who you are learning from, what you are learning from and how you are factoring and filtering what you are learning and how you are dealing with it and what you’re going to do with it.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO CHOOSE WISE TEACHERS, TOO

We who are engaged in the media, we have to bear responsibility for what we teach and how we teach it because the teacher incurs a stricter judgment. Why would the teacher incur a stricter judgment? Because teaching communication actually does have effects and consequences. That’s why we incur a stricter judgment.

Well, if teachers incur a stricter judgment because what they teach and do affects people, then all of us when we are in positions of learning, we need to be careful who we select as our teachers, what we are listening to and how we are listening to it.

That includes reading as well: everything that is produced in communication has a world and life view. Nothing is neutral, but those who are using it are not unneutral and they are not amoral — they have a world and life view that is being communicated.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, for many of us, it’s obvious what is moral and immoral and those decisions might seem black and white. As you talk about discernment for what we read and who we listen to, how can you discern which ones will be speaking the truth?

EXAMINE TEACHERS’ WORLD AND LIFE VIEW

DR. REEDER: Whenever I’m listening to a teacher, I don’t demand that they are Christian, but I do look at their world and life view and, thankfully, even non-Christians, because of common grace, can make communication worthwhile. There are a number of people I won’t mention who are not believers who talk about issues very competently and, because of God’s common grace, they not only know their stuff, they have remnants of a world and life view that are actually beneficial.

Therefore, I don’t demand that they are Christians in every area, but I do say choose your teachers. We will send our children into institutions of learning by teachers that you wouldn’t let your children spend 30 minutes with alone outside of that classroom because of their lifestyle and you’ve got to realize that their lifestyle comes from a world and life view and that world and life view affects how they present the data within a classroom or the data if they’re mentoring someone.

Be careful who you listen to — I can’t say it any better than Jesus — be careful what you listen to and how you listen to it. “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, does not stand in the path of sinners and does not sit in the seat of the scorner.” Go on to that next verse, “His delight is in the law of the Lord and, in His law, he meditates day and night.”

Find teachers who not only know their stuff and are affected by God’s common grace, find teachers who extoll redeeming grace and, certainly, the best way to deal with the teachers that are in the world as we are seeking to learn throughout life, is to make sure you’re under solid Biblical preaching day in and day out.

DISCERNMENT IN CHURCH SELECTION IS ALSO IMPORTANT

Be somewhere in a church where there is expository preaching that is being applied to all of life. Don’t just pick a church where there’s an appealing and attractive personality on the podium and tells good “coach me up” stories, but that pastor is a pastor-teacher who is equipping you with expository preaching.

And then, from that, start choosing your teachers in life within your vocation. Who is teaching you, what are they saying and how are they saying it? That will affect not only what you are learning, but it will affect your heart and then, from your heart, you will begin to speak and make decisions in life.

Just as you are what you eat, you are what you listen to and you become like those whom you listen to. Therefore, in your how to listen, make good choices who you’re listening to and what you’re listening to, who you are reading and what you are reading.

BUILD A CORE LIBRARY OF KNOWLEDGE AND STICK TO IT

Build in your life, first of all, good preaching, then get some good books. There are four programs that I will watch and, because we are out doing things when those programs happen, I’m thankful for the technology. We actually tape them so not only can I be selective of the four programs I want to watch in light of their value and enjoyment as well as instruction, but I also get to fast forward through all of the commercials. And, by the way, they affect you also — believe me, those people are experts at controlling your wants and desires to make yesterday’s luxuries today’s necessities that you think you can’t live without.

STUDY THE WORD OF GOD TO GROW CLOSER TO HIM

Honestly, I’m grateful to be able to fast forward by the commercials but let me give a commercial here: Come to Jesus Christ and love His Word because, through the Word of God, you can know the God of the Word. Now, you can know the Word of God without knowing the God of the Word but you cannot know the God of the Word without the Word of God.

And, when you know from the Word of God the God of the Word, then you can leave a life by the grace of God to the glory of God and choose those teachers who exalt the Lord, your God, in your life from His Word in every arena of life.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

 

12 hours ago

VIDEO: Prisons could be built with COVID-19 funds, Shelby endorses Katie Britt for Senate, Brooks battles with Swalwell as a new poll shows big lead and more on Alabama Politics This Week …

Radio talk show host Dale Jackson and political consultant Mecca Musick take you through Alabama’s biggest political stories, including:

— Will Alabama really use COVID-19 relief funds to build prisons?

— Does Katie Britt’s entering of the U.S. Senate race shake things up, or has U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) already won this race?

— Can U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) keep the more radical members of the Democratic Party at bay?

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Jackson and Musick are joined by former U.S. Attorney Jay Town to discuss the issues facing the state of Alabama this week.

Jackson closes the show with a “Parting Shot” directed at those who want to use the illegally acquired tax returns of the uber-wealthy to push for higher taxes. He argues the released returns show that we should implement a flat tax and do away with all deductions.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 AM weekdays on WVNN and on Talk 99.5 from 10AM to noon.

15 hours ago

Auburn’s David Housel tackles more than sports in ‘From the Backbooth at Chappy’s’

When David Housel retired from Auburn University in 2006, after a legendary career as athletics director for the Tigers, it wasn’t long before his wife urged him to get busy again – and a deli on Glenn Avenue in Auburn was the beneficiary.

“Susan wanted me to do something to get out of the house,” Housel recalls. “I started going to Chappy’s to drink coffee, read the paper. Pretty soon, Kenny Howard would meet me there, and it just kind of grew from there.”

In short order, friends of Housel began to gather, first a few one day a week and then, just prior to the pandemic, 12-16 people nearly every day of the week.

They meet at Chappy’s, where a plaque commemorates Housel’s booth, and they talk – about sports, of course, but about pretty much anything that’s on their minds.

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Housel began to write essays about those mornings, posting them to Facebook. He’s now compiled more than 100 of those pieces into a new book, “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s: Stories of the South: Football, Politics, Religion, and More.” It’s officially released next week at a series of book signings at Chappy’s in the Auburn area from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. each day: Tuesday in Auburn, Wednesday in Montgomery and Thursday in Prattville.

“Consider this Housel unleashed,” the author says. “Most of the stuff I’ve written in my life has been about Auburn on an Auburn platform. Even after I retired, I was a representative of Auburn, even though I wasn’t working there. This is not an Auburn book. It’s about football, politics, religion and more.”

“From the Backbooth at Chappy’s,” with a foreword by Auburn graduate and acclaimed journalist Rheta Grimsley Johnson, evolved as Housel’s morning gatherings at Chappy’s evolved, though he began writing the essays fairly early in the process.

“When something is in your mind, in your heart, in your head, if you’re a writer, it just has to come out, and it just comes through your fingers,” Housel says. “Turns out people like to read it, so I got the Facebook page. I shared thoughts and essays and that kind of thing. It was not a planned thing.”

When COVID-19 came along, Housel decided to listen to a few folks who told him his musings would make a good book.

“I had been thinking a lot about it, and it was time to do it,” Housel says.

Housel has written six other books. Most have to do with Auburn sports history, but one, “From the Desk of David Housel,” is similar to “From the Backbooth at Chappy’s.”

“That one was primarily sports, but it had some other things in it,” Housel says. “This one is about the other stuff, but it has some sports in it.”

Though the three topics in his book’s title – football, politics and religion  – are often the subjects people are warned not to bring up if they want to keep the peace, Housel and his friends don’t shy away from any of them. Housel especially gravitates toward religious topics.

“I like the ones that I hope make people think,” he says of his essays. “The good Lord gave us a mind, and we’re supposed to use it. Too few people who call themselves Christians do what the Lord said and use their minds. … Faith has got to be built not on challenging God but questioning God. I think God likes that, because it shows we’re engaged and that we care.”

Now that the pandemic is ending, the Backbooth at Chappy’s events are slowly but surely returning to normal. On Mondays, Housel eats two eggs scrambled, lean bacon and a helium biscuit; on Tuesdays maybe a parfait with granola; on Wednesdays, it’s blueberry pancakes, and Fridays a waffle.

What remains constant is the conversation. And the writing.

“I’m still writing the Backbooth, and since the first of the year, I’ve written a couple I think are book-worthy,” Housel says. “I started out doing maybe one a week, but I’m old enough that I don’t have to meet a self-imposed deadline. When the spirit moves me, I write.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

16 hours ago

State Rep. Pringle pushes to ban critical race theory in public schools — ‘Woke culture indoctrination,’ ‘Needs to be stopped in its tracks’

Last week, Florida’s Board of Education banned so-called “critical race theory” from its public schools, and it is a move State Rep. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) hopes to follow in Alabama.

Critical race theory, a belief that racism is ingrained in some of America’s sacred institutions, is widely panned by critics because it distorts and weaponizes history for political gain.

Friday, Pringle discussed his prefiled bill for the Alabama Legislature’s 2022 regular session to prohibit critical race theory from being taught in Alabama’s public schools.

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“It’s simply a bill that says in public education, you can’t teach or indoctrinate our children with critical race theory,” he said. “People are waking up all around the nation to how bad this stuff is. I mean, this is woke cancel culture gone completely amuck. They want to completely disregard our 14th and 15th Amendment rights, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act. If you don’t agree with them — here’s what’s crazy: They want to send you to a reeducation camp. Think about that, a reeducation camp. Don’t they do that in China, Russia and North Korea?  That’s how bad this stuff is. Either you agree with them or you have to be sent off to a reeducation camp.”

“This is just indoctrination — the woke culture indoctrination of our children,” Pringle continued. “That’s all it is and it needs to be stopped in its tracks. I mean, our children need to learn history and we ought to open a frank discussion about history — the good, the bad. But this is not about good or bad. This is teaching our children that our nation is a bad nation, is an evil nation and is not the great country that we live in. We are the safest, freest people in the world and that’s what our children need to learn.”

“Do we have problems? Yeah,” he added. “Have we done bad things? Yeah. But we’re still the greatest nation in the history of the world.”

According to the Mobile County Republican lawmaker, the response to the effort thus far has been positive and supportive.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.

20 hours ago

Why Sylacauga marble is known around the world

If you’ve ever visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and stared up at the translucent marble ceiling, you’ve witnessed a piece of Alabama history. The ceiling is made of white marble mined in Talladega County’s Sylacauga (appropriately known as the Marble City).

In addition to lending its natural treasure to some of the nation’s most notable buildings, Sylacauga also holds the title for having the longest deposit of marble in the world. The bed of stone runs 32 miles long, a mile and a half wide, and more than 600 feet deep. The marble found in this quarry is especially desirable for two key characteristics: its purity and its durability. When paired together, these distinct qualities make Alabama marble some of the most desired in the world for large-scale buildings and monuments, as well as homes and sculptures.

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The History of Alabama Marble

sylacauga marble

The Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Marble is formed when limestone is subjected to extreme pressure and heat. In Sylacauga, the conditions are perfect for the formation of metamorphic marble. Sylacauga’s massive deposit was first discovered by Native Americans, but it wasn’t quarried until 1834, 20 years after army surgeon Dr. Edward Gantt stumbled upon the vein while passing through with General Andrew Jackson’s army.

In the years that followed Gantt’s discovery, Sylacauga’s marble business thrived. More quarries popped up, mining the marble for everything from funerary monuments to building projects to sculptures. By the 1960s, the use of the quarried marble shifted toward the utilitarian. Rather than being mined in huge chunks for building material, the marble was being ground down for use in products like cosmetics, diapers, magazine paper, fertilizer, fiberglass, toothpaste, and chewing gum. In 1969, marble was named Alabama’s state rock.

A Timeless Treasure

Sylacauga Quarry (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

Today the charge for Alabama marble is being led by the Swindal family, who own Alabama Marble Mineral & Mining Co. (AM3). AM3’s 50-acre quarry in Sylacauga is the world’s only supplier and leading distributor of Alabama marble. Owner Roy Swindal’s goal is to reintroduce the world to Alabama marble, once again marketing it as a prized material for both commercial and consumer construction. According to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, around 30 million tons of marble have been pulled from the ground in Sylacauga since 1900. The Swindals hope to add to that number by continuing and improving upon the state’s tradition for many years to come.

Marble Mania

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Sculptor Enzo Torcoletti at the Sylacauga Marble Festival (Sylacauga Marble Festival/Facebook)

It’s only fitting that a town built on marble pay tribute to the stone that brought its success. For the past 13 years, the city has celebrated its marble mining heritage with the 12-day Magic of Marble Festival. The festival, typically held in April, features several activities and events that are all free and fun for the whole family. Festival participants can take a tour of operational quarries and visit the Gantts/IMERYS Observation Point that overlooks the town’s historic first quarry. The creative side of marble is put on display at Blue Bell Park, where 25 sculptors create original pieces made entirely of marble. On the final day of the festival, the finished pieces are displayed and sold at nearby B.B. Comer Library. Other activities include a 5K run and a scavenger hunt.

If you can’t wait for next year’s festival and you want to see Alabama’s famous white marble in action now, there are several locations around the state to see it put to good use. In Birmingham, try the John Hand Building, Wells Fargo headquarters, City Federal building, or the Chamber of Commerce. If you’re in Montgomery, don’t miss the “Head of Christ” sculpture at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. It was created by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti, who also happens to be the artist behind Birmingham’s Vulcan.

(Courtesy of SoulGrown)

20 hours ago

The economics of paying ransom

The cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline by the hacker group DarkSide disrupted gasoline supplies across the Southeast. The company caused a stir by paying a 75 Bitcoin ransom to DarkSide. America historically has been opposed to paying evildoers, as reflected in the slogan, “Millions for defense, but not one cent in tribute,” and President Jefferson sending the Navy and Marines to fight the Barbary Pirates.

Ransomware raises many economic issues. A first question is, do hackers ever give the data back if paid? DarkSide provided Colonial Pipeline a key to decrypt their data. According to Proofpoint, this is the norm: 70% of ransom payers got their data back, 20% never got their data back and 10% received a second ransom demand.

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From an economic perspective, this is not surprising. About two dozen groups, identifying themselves by name and known to insurance companies, carry out most of the sophisticated attacks. Insurers would never recommend payment in the future to a group which has reneged. The hackers must deliver as promised to make money.

Some have suggested making payment of ransom for cyberattacks illegal. If no one ever paid ransom, the hackers could not make money. Refusing to pay ransom though faces two significant economic challenges.

The first is time consistency. Kidnapping illustrates this concept. Before an event, the incentive exists to say, “We will never pay ransom.” If the bad guys believe this, they will never invest the time, effort and expense to stage a kidnapping. Once they hold hostages, however, our incentive changes; negotiating just this one time now makes sense. Our policy to never pay ransom is not credible.

Collective action poses the second challenge. Businesses collectively have an interest in not rewarding cybercrime, yet individual businesses suffer these attacks. A business which does not pay ransom benefits other businesses, creating the challenge. Why should Continental Pipeline suffer losses to make other businesses less likely to be attacked?

Why do businesses pay ransom? Reports mention several factors. A business may face a closure of unknown length and cost. Customers’ personal information will be sold if ransom is not paid, leading to fines and bad publicity. And the hackers might sell proprietary information to competitors.

Good economists know better than to second guess business managers’ decisions. Decisions to pay ransom often involve the business’ executives, its insurance carrier and tech security experts. They know the options and likely costs and should make a good decision, despite the pressure of a crisis.

Insurance companies and government regulations reduce organizations’ vulnerability to hackers, which is good. But what about channeling President Jefferson and going after the hackers? Most of the hacker groups operate in Russia, which provides Safe Haven as long as the hackers do not target Russian companies. Some law enforcement options may exist. Federal prosecutors apparently recovered most of the Bitcoins paid to DarkSide.

Crime is a very costly way to transfer wealth. Stolen merchandise typically sells for one-third (or less) of market value. A criminal might have to steal thousands in property to net $1,000. Ransomware appears much more wasteful than traditional theft. Consider just the value of the time Americans spent searching for gas during the disruption. Remember then that the ransom was about $4.4 million.

Cybercrime makes us poorer. The hackers and defenders at tech security companies are highly skilled computer programmers. But instead of making new apps or games, they are hacking or defending existing computer systems. Add to this the service disruption during cyberattacks, the reduced use of technology for fear of being hacked and the time spent on security training. The costs may be $1 trillion annually, or one percent of global GDP.

We must guard here against comparing the real world to an imagined utopia. We cannot costlessly protect our property from thieves or our computers from malware, or make people no longer willing to steal from others. Economics teaches that there are no perfect solutions in life, only tradeoffs. Vigilance, antivirus programs and backup are the tradeoffs we face with cybercrime.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.