Category: Internet

When Hashtags Have Prophetic Power

Authenticity and social media don't often occupy the same space, but a few hashtags recently emerged on Twitter that—for a while, at least—spurred honest, open dialogue and gave voice to those who have been marginalized in the church: women, and black women in particular. Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women, was watching a conversation unfold…  [more]

Podcasts and Mass-mediated Fellowship

When I needed to rest after delivering our daughter recently, my husband knew a familiar routine that would help: he put one of our favorite podcasts in the delivery room. The reaction of the nurse who came in to check on me led me to believe this isn’t a typical choice, but it made sense for us. We had been listening to familiar weekly podcasts at bedtime for years. This style of podcast isn’t for…  [more]

Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and Policing Public Grief

Within a day, we lost both Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds; two film icons, a daughter and mother. Many people took to social media afterwards to vent about 2016 in general, saddened by the number of prominent cultural figures who had died during the year. I also noticed a few pastoral and ministry friends who posted about the cult of celebrity in our culture, how we make a bigger deal about the losses of David…  [more]

Black Mirror’s Christian Suspicion of Technology

Despite society’s near-universal embrace of personal technology, a 2014 Pew Research poll suggested that a significant number of Americans have reservations about its place in our lives. Only 59 percent of those polled were confident that technological developments will lead to a better future, while 30 percent feared that the world will be in a worse place because of technological changes. This tension in the…  [more]

The Naked and the Nude

The recent skirmish over Facebook’s removal of a harrowing image—the Pulitzer Prize-winning, 1972 photograph of a young, naked Vietnamese girl running from a napalm explosion—certainly raises questions of censorship. Yet it also strikes me as a symptom of our porn problem. According to Fortune, Facebook removed the photograph after a Norwegian newspaper editor posted it as part of a series of…  [more]

Why Bible Emoji doesn’t bother me

The world has yet another contemporary English Bible. Well, sort of. Last week, Bible Emoji hit the iTunes store. Subtitled “scripture 4 millenials[sic],” it's a KJV Bible that's 15-percent shorter, employs common web-speak contractions and replaces frequently appearing words with a library of 80 colorful emoji. You can also sample it online. Its anonymous creator — known publicly…  [more]

When Facebook functions as a cemetery

I forgot how much Jon complained about his kidneys. He didn’t have a disorder or a disease. He just liked to whine every time his wife punched him for saying or doing something silly: “Ow, my kidney!” Except, as my sister reminded me, everywhere on his body was somehow his kidney. It brought a smile to my face to remember this fun-loving, goofy friend of mine, who died in a car accident more than…  [more]

Let’s not forget about joy (an ode to the Chewbacca Lady)

Late last week I clicked on a video that several friends had shared and found myself belly laughing in the middle of my living room. Candace Payne, a mother from Texas, won over the Internet with a four-minute video in which she spends most of the time cracking herself up with a present that “is part of [her] birthday joy” — a Chewbacca mask that growls when the mouth is opened. The confluence of…  [more]

Blaming the sin, not the social network

People seem convinced that social media bring out the worst in us. Consider a recent Atlantic article connecting different platforms to each of the seven deadly sins. (Plus two bonus sins!) I have some skepticism around projects like this, but I do appreciate a few things about the direct use of “sin” language. For one thing, it locates our problems where they’ve always been: in people. By thinking…  [more]

Why Facebook reactions equal less meaningful interaction

It’s finally happened. The world now has a “dislike” button. Or at least the Mark Zuckerberg version of one, as Facebook now offers five emojis called reactions: yay, haha, wow, sad and angry. (You can still “like” a post, and now even “love” it.) Months earlier, Zuckerberg had announced his intention to heed users’ requests for an alternative to the classic…  [more]

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