I thought this was a fascinating article. As a tech geek and internet-connected Christian, I find myself feeling “guilty” (not really, but I can’t think of a better word) for my reliance on technology because of other peoples’ views on the subject. Silly, right? But It seems in Christian circles that the internet and technology are increasingly being assigned a value judgement of “bad”, when in reality they are inherently neither “bad” nor “good” – it is our methods of use and/or overuse of these things that can be deemed “bad” or “good”. As with many – I dare say most – things in this imperfect life, we must make intentional, informed decisions on our use of the internet and technology and it can be hard work! I have found that there are fabulous ways to use the internet in God-honoring, community building ways if I am creative and practice a great deal of self-control – that’s the hard part.
The young man in this article is not writing, speaking (in the video) or responding to his quest as a Christian, although he does make reference to being raised in the church for some time as a child and had an ESV Bible on his bookshelf. But he makes some very valuable observations about what he learned. His experiment did not come out quite the way he expected, but it did show him some great things about himself and his use of the internet. Here are a couple that stood out to me:
- The internet is not all bad, even in developing and maintaining relationships. He felt very disconnected from friends and family because he could not Skype (video chat) with his young niece and nephew in another state and he could not just easily text and coordinate with his friends, so he his personality was such that he just didn’t make an effort to connect socially. It seems odd, but he actually felt like he did a better job with an actual face-to-face social life when he had texting to help him coordinate and stay in contact with people.
- He learned that, with or without the internet, he needed to make better decisions about what he wished to spend his time on. He found that he was just as good at wasting his time on meaningless things without the internet as with. So he learned that he needed to look outside of himself and on to what he could do with and for others rather than being wrapped up in himself and pure entertainment in the here and now.
Well, enough of my observations. Read the article for yourself…
I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet
By Paul Miller 05.01.2013
I was wrong.
One year ago I left the internet. I thought it was making me unproductive. I thought it lacked meaning. I thought it was “corrupting my soul.”
It’s a been a year now since I “surfed the web” or “checked my email” or “liked” anything with a figurative rather than literal thumbs up. I’ve managed to stay disconnected, just like I planned. I’m internet free.
And now I’m supposed to tell you how it solved all my problems. I’m supposed to be enlightened. I’m supposed to be more “real,” now. More perfect.
But instead it’s 8PM and I just woke up. I slept all day, woke with eight voicemails on my phone from friends and coworkers. I went to my coffee shop to consume dinner, the Knicks game, my two newspapers, and a copy ofThe New Yorker. And now I’m watching Toy Story while I glance occasionally at the blinking cursor in this text document, willing it to write itself, willing it to generate the epiphanies my life has failed to produce.
I didn’t want to meet this Paul at the tail end of my yearlong journey.
Click here to view his Video documentary of his year without the internet
In early 2012 I was 26 years old and burnt out. I wanted a break from modern life — the hamster wheel of an email inbox, the constant flood of WWW information which drowned out my sanity. I wanted to escape.
I thought the internet might be an unnatural state for us humans, or at least for me. Maybe I was too ADD to handle it, or too impulsive to restrain my usage. I’d used the internet constantly since I was twelve, and as my livelihood since I was fourteen. I’d gone from paperboy, to web designer, to technology writer in under a decade. I didn’t know myself apart from a sense of ubiquitous connection and endless information. I wondered what else there was to life. “Real life,” perhaps, was waiting for me on the other side of the web browser.
My plan was to quit my job, move home with my parents, read books, write books, and wallow in my spare time. In one glorious gesture I’d outdo all quarter-life crises to come before me. I’d find the real Paul, far away from all the noise, and become a better me.
MY GOAL WOULD BE TO DISCOVER WHAT THE INTERNET HAD DONE TO ME OVER THE YEARS
But for some reason, The Verge wanted to pay me to leave the internet. I could stay in New York and share my findings with the world, beam missives about my internet-free life to the citizens of the internet I’d left behind, sprinkle wisdom on them from my high tower.
My goal, as a technology writer, would be to discover what the internet had done to me over the years. To understand the internet by studying it “at a distance.” I wouldn’t just become a better human, I would help us all to become better humans. Once we understood the ways in which the internet was corrupting us, we could finally fight back.
At 11:59PM on April 30th, 2012, I unplugged my Ethernet cable, shut off my Wi-Fi, and swapped my smartphone for a dumb one. It felt really good. I felt free.
A couple weeks later, I found myself among 60,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews, pouring into New York’s Citi Field to learn from the world’s most respected rabbis about the dangers of the internet. Naturally. Outside the stadium, I was spotted by a man brandishing one of my own articles about leaving the internet. He was ecstatic to meet me. I had chosen to avoid the internet for many of the same reasons his religion expressed caution about the modern world.
“It’s reprogramming our relationships, our emotions, and our sensitivity,” said one of the rabbis at the rally. It destroys our patience. It turns kids into “click vegetables.”
My new friend outside the stadium encouraged me to make the most of my year, to “stop and smell the flowers.”
This was going to be amazing.
Read the rest of the article here: http://mobile.theverge.com/2013/5/1/4279674/im-still-here-back-online-after-a-year-without-the-internet
- I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet (theverge.com)
- My Year Without the Internet (newser.com)
- He Unplugged From The Internet For A Year. This Is What He Learned. (kotaku.com)
As if the Olympic coverage has not been bad enough, Bob Costas felt the need to give an absolutely ridiculous commentary last night after Gabby Douglas’ awesome all-around Gold win. No one had really even mentioned the fact that Gabby is African-American during any of the gymnastics coverage – at least not in any way that seemed unusual. But as soon as she won the gold in the all-around, instead of just celebrating her win and talking about what an inspiration she would be to youngsters throughout our nation, he HAD to play the race card! He just HAD to say how she was the first African-American to win the gold in the all-around and how she would now be such an inspiration to all African-American little girls with gymnastics aspirations – really!?!? Just to the African-American little girls? No white girls, and of course no boys, will take any notice at all according to Mr. Costas (because she’s “black”?). We were having such a great “color-blind” moment and he just HAD to go and blow it!
Until we can just say “great job – we are so proud of you” to everyone who accomplishes great stuff, we will continue to draw artificial lines in the sand meant to do nothing but seperate us and to continue the unfortunate “us vs. them” mentality that permeates our human nature.
I am sure that Gabby Douglas is proud of her heritage, as well she should be. But from what I have seen and heard of her, I don’t believe that she feels it has any bearing on her gymnastics career at all. Gabby seems much more concerned that her relationship with God is a part of her daily life than the color of her skin. When asked how she keeps her focus and her emotions in check during a competition, she says that she reads, meditates on and memorizes scripture. She has had problems with focus and emotions in the past and many of the USA Gymnastics coaching staff believed that she didn’t have the tenacity and emotional strength to win. But Gabby says that her faith has helped her manage the pressure of competing and has allowed her to succeed.
The first thing that Gabby tweeted after winning the gold was, “Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me”. And when being interviewed right after the win she said, “I give all the Glory to God…the glory goes up to him and the blessings fall on me”. WOW – would I have the presence of mind in the aftermath of just winning a gold medal on international television to so clearly give all of the glory to God? I would certainly hope so; what a fabulous witness!
So why can we not just concentrate on the fact that Gabby is a fabulously talented gymnast, a young lady who presents herself with grace an authenticity, and who places her faith and trust in God and is not afraid to let the world know it instead of talking simply about the color of her skin?
I am proud of Gabby for her tremendous accomplishments, both as a team member and as an All-Around champion, for her authenticity and grace in presenting herself and for her acknowledgement of God as the strength and power in her life. These are things for which she has worked very hard and about which she has made tough decisions, and deep and costly commitments. And most impressive of all, she gives all of the credit and glory to God!
And a further Olympic coverage note, there has GOT to be a better way to broadcast the Olympics, even when there is a large time zone gap. The coverage this year has been very disappointing. It is so time-shifted, overly edited, narrow in scope (not many sports being shown), and filled to the brim with commercials, commentary and filler. Every 2 years the coverage is a little worse.
A request to the Olympic broadcast networks (in this case NBC): less opinions, agenda and speechifying and more wide-ranging and complete coverage please!
This specific picture, as awesome as it is, has nothing to do with this post. But what is significant about this picture and this post is that it was creating using only my Toshiba android tablet and the data card from my camera. That is SO COOL because it means that I need no laptop computer or phone in order to post pictures and updates during our trip. All I need is my tablet and a working internet connection. Now the internet connection might be a problem at times, but I can’t control that. But my part is done…
I find myself having a tough time parenting lately. With my kids now at or approaching the late teen years and the end of the “school days”, I am finding it harder and harder to know when to assume control of situations and responses to situations and when to back off. I have always allowed my kids to resolve their problems for themselves and think independently – under the watchful and supportive eyes of mom and dad and with liberal amounts of counsel and advice as needed. But now, when I should be happy with the “payoff ” of all our hard work and the independence it brings to the kids and to Terry and I, instead I feel hurt and shut out. How dumb is that?
They just don’t seem to get the importance of grades, relationships, dedication, commitment (I could go on and on…) in quite the same why I do! Well, OK – I’m a bit older than they are and I see things differently through the lens of experience and wisdom – DON’T THEY GET THAT!?! Um, sorry – got a little excited for a moment. I think they DO get it, maybe more than I give them credit for sometimes. Could it be that it is time to follow through on all of my talk about wanting them to be independent, take their faith on for themselves, come to terms with ways to live out their convictions, and – oh no – to allow them to make mistakes (in a controlled environment with me and Dad here to help pick up the pieces, of course)?
I understood separation anxiety when it happened to the kids when they were little, but I am finding it harder to take as a parent. Maybe because I am so used to feeling in control, even though that has never really been true anyways. The only one truly in control, now and throughout time to bring us all to this place, is God.
I just finished reading chapter two of “Trusting God” by Jerry Bridges. It is titled “Is God in Control?” and his firm answer is absolutely. God’s divine providence is His constant care for and His absolute rule over all His creation for His glory and the good of His people. I know that in all things – in everyday mundane things and gradual life changes as well as in the hurtful, lasting sufferings that life brings – I must trust God. I must trust that He is continually at work in every aspect and every moment of my life and in the lives of my kids. Wow!
God give me the patience to rest in your providence and to know that, even though it is feeling like my parenting work is almost done (that will never actually happen!), You love my kids and are working all things for their ultimate good because they love You and have been called according to Your purpose (Romans 8:28).
“Christians are the only people who can laugh in the midst of such a crisis without despair–we know where we are headed.”
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Since Christmas falls on Sunday this year, we decided to have the annual Christmas brunch on Christmas Eve – Saturday morning! All the traditional stuff – Grandma’s coffee cake, cream cheese eggs and roadside potatoes. I have tried to change up the menu in the past, but it always seems to disappoint someone. So, traditional […]
Healthy Sausage Lentil Soup
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 1/4 pound reduced-fat smoked sausage, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 medium carrot, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes, cut up
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
- In a large saucepan coated with cooking spray, cook and stir onion and celery over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the sausage, carrot and garlic; cook 2-3 minutes longer or until onion is tender.
- Stir in the broth, water, lentils, oregano, cumin and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until lentils and vegetables are tender.
- Stir in the tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and spinach; cook until heated through and spinach is wilted.