Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Deeply Rooted Issues (long)

In spite of a dearth of items and a busy class schedule, I just came across some items about secularism and technology (thanks to Books and Culture). two issues which have taken root in our culture and have had a profound impact on us.

"Wow! Sweet!" by Andy Crouch discusses how technology has changed the way we treat appliances and in so doing the "spiritual" centers of a house
"The range is the spiritual heart of the modern kitchen. Hidden dishwashers and refrigerators may be the latest trend, but who hides their range? Indeed, displayed in its full glory, the range can spark that peculiarly male form of conversation, the competitive exchange of technical specs—as in the New Yorker cartoon that shows a wine-drinking guest and his host contemplating an expanse of gas burners: "Wow! The big guy! And what kind of B.T.U.'s am I looking at here?" (Probably about 18,000, by the way.)"

He also discusses the impact of TiVo on people's choices for television and a more toward more engagement with the technology With a TiVo, you stop watching "TV" and start watching programs. "Add TiVo to the Internet, with its promise of purposeful "searching" and interaction, and the availability of full-length movies, and the television industry is right to be alarmed—its grip really is slipping."

read more


A secondly deeply rooted issue, secularism is often touted as the wave of the future and better than Christianity. Not so say some pundits as discussed in the Weekly Digest of Books and Culture --some scrolling needed-- which used the Civil Rights topic of Stone of Hope by David Chappell as commented on by David Brooks in the New York Times as an example or church and state needing to work together to accomplish necessary social change. ""If you believe that the separation of church and state means that people should not bring their religious values into politics, then, if Chappell is right, you have to say goodbye to the civil rights movement," Brooks says. "It would not have succeeded as a secular force." Secular members of the civil rights movement held too optimistic a view of human nature, Chappell argues...."
This short entry also linked to an earlier essay by Brooks "Kicking the Secularist Habit," in Atlantic Monthly The entry in Christianity today also included the Next Christianity by Philip Jenkins and Will the Christian Church Survive by Bernard Iddings Bell.

As the Christian church moves toward Easter with Palm Sunday here and here next week, we need to reflect on where we have come and where we are going and on our foundation and how engaged we actually are with our beliefs. And that's about as political as I'm going to become!

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