Category: Gadgets

The approaching scourge of virtual-reality porn

Before the Internet, it was easy to think of pornography as a worldly problem far removed from the church. Videos and magazines could only be bought in stores, which required showing one’s face at a public establishment - something most Christians probably avoided. But by the time I was 15, I had a computer in my room with a wire to the world. Suddenly, pornography could be accessed at the touch of a button…  [more]

I draw the line at selfie sticks (at least for now)

I went a little selfie crazy while on vacation a few weeks ago. Keep in mind, for a selfie-averse adult like myself, going “crazy” meant taking maybe a total of 15 pictures of my wife and I together while celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in Paris. But that’s about 13 more selfies than I’ve taken in the five previous years. I’ve always had reservations about the practice, largely…  [more]

The new technology of social justice

In his seminal book The Prophets, Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel suggested that the Old Testament prophets saw justice as the supreme manifestation of God's presence. Heschel, a rabbi whose work carved out a place in both Jewish and Christian thought, was the sole survivor of a family who was killed by Nazis during World War II. "God's concern for justice grows out of His compassion for man,”…  [more]

Should we be “redesigning” death?

“With just a little attention … he might be able to refract some of the horror and hopelessness of death into more transcendent feelings of awe and wonder and beauty.” These words, taken from the California Sunday Magazine article “Death, Redesigned,” speak to a new understand of mortality in our culture. It doesn’t take much experience with death to understand how daunting the…  [more]

Audiophiles and spiritual fidelity

Audiophiles seem to be having their moment in the cultural sun. Neil Young’s PonoPlayer, which purports to recreate the experience of vinyl LPs, has turned heads, even as numerous articles aim to debunk the idea that vinyl sounds better. In fact, several corresponding arguments are conflating technical, psychological, emotional and even spiritual ideas surrounding the value of music and the concept of fidelity.…  [more]

Wealth in light of the Apple Watch

The announcement this month of the Apple Watch raises a number of perplexing challenges for Christians. A dominant theme of much commentary has had to do with the top-tier Apple Watch Edition, with options ranging from $10,000 to $17,000. These models feature rare crystal screens and precious metal cases. Apple products have never been cheap, but this new level of luxury represents the company’s recognition of…  [more]

“Missed connections” and a love worth pursuing

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we find ourselves in a season of American life with competing paradigms of romantic love. From films, music and even the card aisle of your local pharmacy, February is always a month dedicated to the exploration of one of our most mysterious of virtues. In the spirit of exploration, I want to present two tales, which represent two vastly different views of love in the modern…  [more]

Craig Detweiler on Apple, Google and other “iGods”

Calvin College's January Series is still underway, but organizers were kind enough to share this video of one of the more intriguing talks so far: Craig Detweiler's discussion of "iGods." Based on his book, iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives, Detweiler's presentation explored the "big four" entities that dominate our digital existence - Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google - and…  [more]

Wiring the wild: animal exploitation or creation care?

While on a recent trip to India’s Periyar Tiger Reserve, my wife and I were told by our guides that approximately 48 tigers lived in or near the preserve, although sightings are quite rare. How then did they arrive at the number 48? Trail cameras snap motion-activated photos of the cats during their nighttime prowls. We’re getting used to being perpetually on-camera in the human realm. Now we’re…  [more]

Why “normal Barbie” might not be the answer

Who knew a bunch of second-graders could make me so defensive about Barbie? You’d think I’d be past this. After all, I’ve had a lifetime of concerns about the plastic blonde. I’ve worried her famously out-of-proportion physique could lead to body image problems. I’ve recoiled when a talking Barbie declared that “math class was tough.” (Even though, honestly, I agreed with…  [more]

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