Category: Science & Technology

California’s drought and a Christian ethic of water

A few miles from the town where I live on the San Francisco peninsula, there is a monument to water: the Pulgas Water Temple. It’s a Beaux Arts-style temple, with a reflecting pool set in a green, grassy lawn. The temple bears these words from Isaiah: “I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people.” The temple celebrates the 1934 completion of the Hetch Hetchy…  [more]

Stephen Hawking and the body of Christ

In an interesting article in the June edition of Epic magazine, Helene Mialet writes about people’s response to her 10-year ethnographic study of the social fabric (people and machines) that surround Stephen Hawking and allow him to be the Stephen Hawking we recognize and respect. As an ethnographer, Mialet is interested in how Hawking’s ability to do what he does as a scientist is dependent…  [more]

Humbled by Pluto

After traveling 3.6 billion miles, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft came within 7,700 miles of Pluto last week, sending us close-up images of that dwarf planet for the first time. The pictures shed new, surprising insight, including huge mountains likely made of water ice. There were also no impact craters on the surface of Pluto, indicating that the surface is (relatively) young. Another surprise was that…  [more]

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]

Engaging relationally with our information age

Anyone with a smartphone knows we exist in an information age. While the vast expanse of information available at our fingertips may seem majestic on the surface, we’ve grown increasingly accustomed to the instant availability of data. In a recent Time article Lev Grossman discussed what he called “humanity’s newest problem: data.” Considering the rapid rate at which the availability of data…  [more]

Monasticism and the Googleplex

Nathan Heller had me at the title: “Google’s Monastic Vision for the Future of Work.” Heller’s New Yorker article breezily condenses a decade or so of Google’s corporate real estate travails into a jambalaya of metaphors, all while describing a design project for their new headquarters that looks like the latest version of the Biosphere. As the headline hints, Heller lands, finally, on…  [more]

Asking hard questions about embryo adoption

As I scrolled through my Facebook feed this past Father’s Day, I saw photos of married dads, divorced dads and single dads; of dads caring for their biological children, adopted children and stepchildren. I saw, in other words, the diversity of families in contemporary America. Families today are created and configured in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago. This diversity is due to…  [more]

Jurassic World’s cruelty toward its creatures

One reason 1993’s Jurassic Park became so iconic was the timing of its release. The 1990s saw a growing popular interest in paleontology, particularly among kids. These days, a third grader will rattle off the identities and powers of Marvel superheroes; back then, they were more likely to know the scientific names and relative sizes of dinosaurs. Any dinosaur-obsessed kid who goes to the new Jurassic World,…  [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 pastoral implications of Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook post

I’ve been thinking about what I will do the next time I have occasion to make eye contact with Sheryl Sandberg. It will happen eventually. My husband works at Facebook. I’ve had a few brief in-real-life interactions with her (the company Christmas party and a hello in the parking lot). Even in passing, she was warm and genuine. She made an effort to look me in the eye and say hello. A few days after her…  [more]

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