How technology sharpens the need for worship and love

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

2016 New Year Message

One of the most profoundly practical statements about religion that I have come across in 55 years of personal experiences, family life, business, fieldwork, and research, comes from Dale Carnegie’s classic book: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living – Time Tested Methods for Conquering Worry (1944). In it he writes:

“ Jesus declared that there were only two important things about religion: loving God with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves. Any man that does that is religious, regardless of whether he knows it.” pp. 194-195

It’s a new day for growing up, being a parent, worship and love

Fast forward to the digital age, the network culture – the natal social venue for anyone born 1990 or later. These are in essence digital natives who are more vulnerable to the power and control issues of the world: anxiety, depression, bullying, addiction and exploitation. And so in this cyber-powered landscape, whoever has the device must learn to think like the quarterback, lest he or she surrenders power to the bully, drug or app. And, more importantly, because the network culture can easily convince us of things that are not true, and to focus on things that really don’t matter, there are new demands for parents to communicate the spiritual resilience of their chosen faith. Now more than ever, what you choose to believe about your power and why you choose to believe it matters for personal security.

Not surprisingly, religious institutions, much like family culture, are lagging in response to this disruption to the order of the world. In her book, Got Religion?: How Churches, Mosques, and Synagogues Can Bring Young People Back (2015), Naomi Schaefer Riley addresses the intergenerational divide that is transforming the demographic landscape of all faiths. Riley examines three major religions, Christian, Judaism and Muslim, to expose some of the current disconnects these religious institutions have in common that keep young people away, and explores the elements of creating authentic religious communities that attract and engage the next generation.

What Riley found through research and fieldwork (interviewing religious leaders and young adults), is that contrary to popular belief, youth are not attracted to churches because of their use of social media or texting (although they do expect churches to make use of them). Rather youth are seeking to be a part of a community, where it is possible to own their faith as an intimate, real and practical application for living a fulfilling life.

“If religion isn’t true, then life is meaningless. It is a tragic farce.” Dale Carnegie, p. 194

In my read of Riley’s book, I found three ways religious institutions are disconnected from demographic and cultural trends:

  • First, the role of the parent in communicating the spiritual wisdom of their faith at home is minimized. Children are dropped off for religious education programs which may also serve as entertainment for kids, and parents are not meaningfully engaged.
  • Secondly, college-aged and young adults are seeking authentic communities, neighborhoods where there is a sense of belonging and unity. They are not seeking to be a part of a big church. One young person was quoted as saying, “I need community around me in order for my faith to burn brightly.” For it is in community that we find our place. The research findings suggest that faith leaders and educators are better served to build and expand worship communities in neighborhood locations.
  • Third, this millennial generation values diversity. Religious institutions have a tendency to focus on homogeneity. And in this regard, modern youth are very sensitive to judging – the kind of judging that is condemning and unforgiving (as opposed to hopeful, merciful discernment and correction). Many youth reported that they do not believe they would be welcome in the houses of worship of their parent’s generation.  (My personal experience and fieldwork has informed me that digital natives are inclusive, and do not like to see people marginalized.)

The unifying impact of the mobile connectivity power crisis

So whatever the trends, there is one fundamental, universal truth about humanity that every religion is required to address in the wake of this power crisis: liberty already belongs to the soul, and it must be defended. It is the mustard seed of faith that makes a free society possible in the first place. That God grants every individual power over their own intellect and will. It is that simple. This is your power and it can never be taken. And by the same token the great challenge is that this power can easily be surrendered to the wrong thoughts.

In this networked culture, where it is easy to believe you can Google anything you need to know, there is great confusion between knowledge (that doesn’t care) and wisdom (the application of knowledge with great care). Personal security in this open and limitless environment therefore demands a belief system that values this divine free agency of thought and protects individuals from tyranny (or bullying, terrorism and other undue influences).

In this regard, youth are indeed searching for a place where it feels safe to unpack what is happening in their worlds, virtually and in the flesh. This safe place is created; it is the culture of our homes and other places of worship. It is a recognition that power already belongs to the soul, and it must be defended by exercising restraint in the following ways:

  • By the individual, who gives up limited power to community
  • By the community, that recognizes power checks and balances with establishing and enforcing rules
  • By a paradigm of justice that offers hope and encouragement for the individual to return to the community corrected.

Get a Fresh Start:

Argue less, love more, and build trust

"For most people, the family is the place where one learns to love, or not." -- Helen Alvare Purchase your copy of the 2015 Edition today! $15.00

“For most people, the family is the place where one learns to love, or not.” — Helen Alvare
Purchase your copy today!

At BMF we believe that mobile connectivity landing in the hands of youth and disrupting family life is a call to action.

A call to impart the spiritual wisdom of your chosen faith fearlessly. In this regard, atheists have the freedom to declare there is no God because a handful of people put their faith in one God who said that every person can choose to believe what they want and express it.

It is an executive movement to capitalize upon free agency within every individual and promote personal security that comes from knowing you already have power over your own heart and mind and it must be defended. So choose your beliefs wisely.

We pursue this cause by teaching people, with practical and high-impact training, how to create a family culture governed by discipline expressed as forgiveness and grace; that is to hold people accountable and implement consequences for choices and behavior with a heart full of mercy and hope.  It is the power of forgiveness as a spiritual strategy and mindset that enables parents to impart the spiritual wisdom of their chosen faith as a prevention and recovery hug; to get a ‘fresh start’ and escape the undue worldly influences (bullying, addictions and exploitation). My faith informs me that God’s love, the Spirit and source of wisdom for life, is accessible to every human being. (James 1:5). In this way, I believe every family can choose to learn how to argue less, love more, and build trust. Including families with loved ones in prison.

Our education program continues to thrive with the generous support of like-mined people in our community. Below are some of the main components.

  • Fresh Start Trainers Certification. The 2016 edition of the Fresh Start family culture handbook is available and is being used to train Fresh Start family culture trainers at 4 certification sessions this year equipping therapists, counselors, faith leaders and educators. OnSite Strategies is sponsoring the professional training with CEUs.
  • Fresh Start Family Consulting. Joanna offers private consulting and workshops on creating a family culture that fosters open communication, builds trust and individual resilience.
  • Symposiums and workshops. The BMF events schedule includes a spring and fall symposiums featuring applied research and best practices for making home a peaceful place where one can learn how defend their liberty regardless of circumstances and events.To book a workshop, contact joanna at
  • Quick Training. 90-minute training sessions on “hot topics” such as internet porn and sexting, confronting the cyberbully, dealing with internet-powered addictions, and grooming children for the social network. To book an event, contact joanna at
  • Cyber tips for families. Cyber parenting tips are published weekly and broadcast on the radio with Jodie Stevens, Hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show on 103.9FM The Fish.
  • Cyber safety trends and insights. The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner on continues to feature weekly topics about the trends of technology, culture and youth and insights for parents to govern the home with the wisdom of their chosen faith.

For  a $20 donation to the BMF you will receive a BMF ebook on the practical things every parent can do to advocate healing for a suffering child. This ebook is a byproduct of a talk I gave to counselors and therapists last November:

Please make your donation here: and I will send you a PDF copy of the ebook: “The Role of a Parent in Healing a Suffering Child”. Thank you!


2015 December Round Up

2015 December Monthly: Hopeless in America: Why American parents are afraid to let their children grow up


Cyber Safety for Families with Joanna and Jodie on 103.9 FM The Fish Family Morning Show

Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner


Dr. Jessica Rodriguez, CEO of Gateway Corp in Sacramento Guest Blogger: Dr. Jessica Rodriguez 

Six deadly habits leading to shame and eating disorder


Stevens_JodieGenuine Life with Jodie Stevens




 Fresh Start Trainer Certification, Roseville, CA

  • Friday, January 15, 2016
  • 11am to 3pm
  • Fee: $55
  • Register here
  • NAADAC /CCAPP CEUs upgrade:  $35
  • This is a workshop to certify professionals, faith leaders and educators as trainers for the Fresh Start curriculum to integrate into their practice.

Parenting Tech-Savvy Teens, Rocklin, CA

  • Wednesday, February 3,  2016
  • 6:30 -8pm
  • Fee: none
  • Location: Cross Roads Church, 3860 Oak St., Rocklin, CA   95677
  • Joanna will be talking about how the network culture impacts youth and the new demands on parents. Contact: Dan Britton danbritton78 at

Empowering Adult Children with Issues, Sacramento, CA

  • Saturday, February 6, 2016
  • 9am to noon
  • Fee: $50
  • A 3-hour workshop to help parents become more effective advocates for the change they want to see in their adult children.
  • Register here

The practical value of virtues & Sacraments workshop, Granite Bay, CA

  • Saturday, February 20, 2016
  • 9am to noon
  • Fee: None
  • Location: St. Joseph Marello Catholic Parish, 7200 Auburn-Folsom Rd., Granite Bay, CA 95746, 916-786-5001
  • Faith formation starts at home with the parent communicating their spiritual wisdom heart-to-heart. This workshop offers insights to help parents communicate with greater confidence how virtues and Sacraments make manifest in the individual the power of God’s love which brings about peace.

Fresh Start Trainer Certification, Roseville, CA

  • Friday, March 4, 2016
  • 11am to 3pm
  • Fee: $55
  • Register here
  • NAADAC /CCAPP CEUs upgrade:  $35
  • This is a workshop to certify professionals, faith leaders and educators as trainers for the Fresh Start curriculum to integrate into their practice.

Fresh Start: Parenting with Holy Confidence in the Social Network

  • March 8, 6:00 -8:00
  • Shrine of St. Joseph, Santa Cruz, CA
  • More details forthcoming

Academic success tips for every child and the learning disabled (dyslexia, attention deficit)

  • Sat. March 12, 2016
  •  9am to noon
  • Fee: None
  • Location: St. Joseph Marello Catholic Parish, 7200 Auburn-Folsom Rd., Granite Bay, CA 95746, 916-786-5001
  • Every child has the capacity to learn and learning how to learn is one of the most important life skills. This workshop offers tips for overcoming learning challenges with confidence and hope.

BMF SPRING SYMPOSIUM: Responding to Shame as Individuals and Families

  • Saturday, April 9,  2016
  • 8am to 1:30 pm
  • Location: Living Smart Foundation, 4701 Whitney Ave, Carmichael, CA 95608
  • Details forthcoming


ABOUT:  Banana Moments Foundation is a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. The BMF mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all BMF proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your Donations are greatly appreciated.

Joanna Jullien (Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien
(Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.


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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna ( and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.