Category: Science & Technology

The (somewhat) sacred outdoors

My family lives surrounded by an embarrassment of scenic riches. In less than six hours, we can drive to no less than five national parks. We don’t even have to leave our own county for a rich experience of nature. We have San Francisco Bay to the east, the Pacific Ocean over a mountain ridge to the west and Redwood groves and open space teeming with deer and mountain lions just miles from my house. We are…  [more]

What’s really been exposed in the Ashley Madison hack

Men and women cheating on their spouses is nothing new. Yet with the hack of affair-matchmaking site Ashley Madison and subsequent release of information identifying its users, adultery is in the public eye in a new way. Those fearful of discovery are seeking to know if their information was part of the leak. Prominent Christians such as Josh Duggar were found among the paid users, as was Sam Rader, a Christian…  [more]

Sharing the good news amidst Tinder’s ‘dating apocalypse’

Love isn’t easy in the digital age and, apparently, neither is responding to criticism. Last week, Vanity Fair ran a piece by Nancy Jo Sales on “Tinder and the Dating Apocalypse,” the contents of which provoked the Tinder Twitter account into an “emotional meltdown” that ranged from accusations of shoddy journalism to invoking North Korean users as legitimation of its services. Although…  [more]

Parsing the Parallel Bible

“When the reader hears strong echoes of his or her own life and beliefs, he or she is apt to become more invested in the story.” That line, taken from Stephen King’s On Writing, is a timeless truth that applies equally well to nearly every form of storytelling. But it is also a potentially dangerous truth when applied to the story of the Bible, authored by God Himself. Such is the inherent struggle…  [more]

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]

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