Categories
Uncategorized

We are living in an age of outrage.

We are living in an age of outrage.

“I must confess that it often feels like guilt is now automatically presumed before innocence. Not only do we assume that something we find offensive, triggering, bigoted, misogynistic (trans or otherwise), or in anyway hurtful was intended as such (and authorial intent be damned); we are also willing to go out of our way to find any offensive thing we can.”

In this piece, Jason Morehead (@jasonopus) deftly cobbles together fairly disparate sources to paint a picture of the quick-to-the-draw culture we Americans are developing. The trend is quite startling. However, the piece offers some hope through the example of a woman sharing parenting techniques with those on the other side of the political spectrum.

Categories
Uncategorized

The Facebook Imperative



Rob (@robertsboone) raises a good question in this tweet. If you buy his assumption, that so many people who use Facebook hate it, it raises another question. Namely, is being on Facebook a contemporary technological imperative? With all of the other technology at our disposal, are we de facto luddites, if we do are not on the Facebook graph? More important than whether or not we are luddites, and whether or not we embrace technology, is the question of whether we are at least partially incommunicado without the giant social network.

I have never signed up for Facebook. A few weeks ago, I missed out on being able to ask my pastor questions when he attended our Sunday School class, because I did not have the opportunity to post questions on Facebook. A few months ago, I missed the news that a childhood best friend had tongue cancer, again, because I wasn’t on Facebook. At least my wife is plugged in. I’m not sure what our family would be like if at least one of us wasn’t on the social network. I almost certainly wouldn’t know when my cousins in other states were moving, or having a child, or taking a new job. To date, my most read piece on Medium only has that status because my wife shared it with our young families group at church, on Facebook.

Has it come to a point where I have to join Facebook, or suffer a uniquely modern form of social isolation? Perhaps others, having made the same calculation, have decided that the utility or necessity overcomes the dislike of the service. People get angry whenever there is a UX change, or some sort of mostly unregulated psychological experiement done on users, but how often do they actually rage quit? Have the consequences of quitting become too costly for those who place a high value on social connections?

Categories
Uncategorized

How I (Almost) Missed the Vinyl Resurgence


My record collection officially started when I was given Madonna’s Like a Virgin LP, by my parents, as a ninth birthday gift. I had to quickly give up collecting records, when I destroyed the stylus on my parent’s turntable, shortly after. Not a great way to pay back those who so graciously gave me my introductory piece.


Fast forward (or move the tone arm inward, to keep the metaphors consistent) a few years, and I find myself, as a teenager, rediscovering that records were still being made and were the only way to get acquire certain music. Bands put songs on 7″’s that never made it to the digital realm that, at the time, was owned by compact discs. The year was 1993, and the internet was still a very small and slow place, and not in any way an appropriate music distribution platform. That same year I started buying my own records, Nirvana (at the time the most successful band in the world), released their new album, In Utero, on clear vinyl, a week earlier than the compact disc.

Categories
Uncategorized

A Technology Fast From Everything

(Except the Internet)

Some time ago, writer John Dyer moved from Texas to England to start a PhD program on digital Bible use. In the process, he was forced to give up a lot of technology we take for granted (like dryers and coffee makers). When he moved to his new home, he found himself wondering about “technology fasts” and Sabbath breaks from the internet.

What about the concept of “Sabbath” and “rest”? While fasting seems to be for the individual’s spiritual maturity, the Jewish Sabbath was and is very much a social activity. A Sabbath rest declares that the world can go on without me, but that I am still valuable to my community as a human being. The Sabbath is something the entire community does together, and the lack of work creates space for alternate social practices that deepen community and relational bonds.

Dyer realizes that line of thinking seems to go against the trend of some Christians (including myself) to give up Twitter or Facebook for Lent or taking a “Tech Sabbath” and avoiding those social networks for a period of time. Those services are designed to create community and, at least in some ways, do a pretty good job of it.

Certainly, rest can be experienced on an individual level, but for ideally a “Tech Sabbath” should be something shared within a group, a family structure, or a living arrangement.

When the Law was/is strictly enforced in the Jewish community, Sabbath observance is a big deal. Nehemiah closed the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath. When merchants even spent the night outside of the gates, he warned them, “If you do this again, I’ll have you arrested.” (Nehemiah 13: 19–20)

If we abstain from social connections for Sabbath rest, are we actually going against the spirit of community implicit in the observance of the Sabbath? It’s a point of view I had not considered before, but will certainly be giving more thought to in the coming year, as I consider the right level of technology my life and the lives of my family members.

Categories
Uncategorized

Honest Parenting and the Fortune Wookie


Most of the art we create tends to be reflective of the art we consume. I know this to be true of myself. I am currently reading The Things of the Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Gifts by self-described “Christian Hedonist”, Joe Rigney. My thoughts have been impacted by this reading material. As per usual, I’ve also been consuming various media on current events. Due to those influences, I write pieces like the one, from a couple of weeks ago, about relying on God when you’re down. In defense of my own lack of complete originality, Rigney himself starts out his book with an acknowledgment those who have influenced his thinking and writing (Jonathan Edwards, C.S. Lewis, John Piper and Doug Wilson).

Recently, my son was reading books by an author named Tom Angleberger. Angleberger writes a series of novels for younger readers about kids in school who create origami Star Wars characters. When my son gets into a book, or a series of books, he is inspired to do some of his own writing. Invariably, the writing (at least the theme and some of the style) is heavily influenced by the book he has been reading. This pattern has played itself out through such series as Harry Potter, The Spiderwick Chronicles, 39 Clues and the Underland Chronicles.

Categories
Uncategorized

The Man Who Broke Phones

Apple Inc. had a difficult week, last week. First, some people bent their newer, huger phones. Then, the first update to iOS 8 caused the phone functionality on the recently introduced iPhone 6 not to work. Although, sometimes it seems as though people don’t use their iPhones a lot for voice calls, phone is still a major part of the product name. Not to mention, as Nick Arnott points out, in his piece about hugs not bugs, the voice call part of the phone can be a pretty critical function.