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Lohrmann, Daniel J. Life in the digital age brings a host of new dangers and challenges, including the very real threat of identity theft. This book will help us understand and address the temptations that compete for our thoughts, dreams, time, and money. McCluhan, Marshall. The Medium is the Message. Gingko Press, The classic and prophetic work from the a s media critic. McCluhan argues that all media work us over. His words have proven true in the almost years since he penned them. His message is sorely needed as we embark on the digital frontier.

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Schultze, Quentin J. Schultze, a well-respected Christian media critic, calls listeners to think seriously about our tendency to uncritically adopt all new technologies without discerning the options, setting good limits, and establishing best practices. Schuurman, Derek C. If our Christian faith is to be integrated into all of life, what does faith have to say about technology and how we use it? Schuurman looks at technology through the flow of biblical history — creation, fall, redemption, restoration — and offers sound advice on how to live with technology in ways that promote the Kingdom of God.

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This is a great book for anyone wondering what a Christian worldview has to do with computer technology. Through the proliferation of technology, the threshold for engaging in many vices such slander, inappropriate relationships, addictions, or pornography is so much lower than ever before. The E asks us to consider engagement—both how we engage with technology ourselves, and with others through it. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find someone who worked BE Before Email , but those few who remember talk of how there was more time to process matters in business or in church affairs.

If someone had a complaint, they wrote a letter; this letter would then be dealt with at the next monthly committee meeting; a letter of reply would be drafted and sent. Yes, it was slow too slow, sometimes , but now there is little time for reasoned responses because email or texting make communication so quick.

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An email of complaint can ignite a blaze of controversy in mere minutes, especially as that initial posting can quickly be forwarded to many other people. Boers fears that technology has increased our expectations of speed while eroding our patience and tolerance for weakness or delay.

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On the whole, there is less and less need for personal face-to-face interaction with other people—bank tellers, pastors, even family members. Again, there are obvious benefits to being able to connect with others remotely, but Boers also wants us to seriously consider the losses as technology has altered the way we "do" relationships. He wonders whether people seem more "disposable"—virtual relationships can seem easier to enter and maintain than real relationships, not the least because so much can be disguised in virtual communication. What constitutes "community," a central concept for Christians, in a virtual world?

The T highlights the impact of technology on our time. Though many inventions claim to save us time, there are also subtle ways in which gadgets use up time.

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Gadgets require attention and maintenance, let alone the time it takes to learn how to use them! Technology has significantly changed the work environment. Decades ago it would have been uncommon for executives or mid-level employees to do their own typing or filing; they had secretaries who did these tasks.

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Yet now it would be hard to find an office that did not expect every person to be busy on their own computers with their own files. Demands can arrive in our inboxes at a rapid pace. Instead of simplifying our lives, has technology driven us to distraction?

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The final letter, S, turns our attention to space, because technology also affects our relationship to place. Virtually, the world—indeed the cosmos—is so much more accessible to us, and we become disconnected from where our bodies are. While that has obvious benefits, we can also be so consumed by far-away spots and events that we become unaware of and ungrounded from our own place.

Of course, much of this information is not new. But Boers has collected an impressive array of facts and studies so that readers can't avoid acknowledging the impact of increasing technology. But he doesn't stop there. Boer's goal is not to have us discouraged and defeated, but to encourage us to reconsider what our core values for good living actually are, and then to challenge us to live out of them rather than our default position of accepting the sway of technology in our lives. As he says, "Unless we figure out why we're selecting our lifestyle choices, it will be hard to make discerning decisions and careful choices about living differently.

To counter the potentially negative effects of technology, Boers invites us to consider Borgmann's concept of "focal practices. These activities, while difficult, also gave him great satisfaction and enriched his life. When he heard about Borgmann's focal practices, he understood the restorative power of these two events in his own life better.

These were practices that restored some needed balance to his life, and helped him centre himself anew on his own deeply held values. But the three overarching determiners are that these practices must first have commanding presence—in the sense that they take energy and effort, contain an element of unpredictability, and, thus, humble us.

Many activities that people might consider as crafts, such a quilting or woodworking, could be focal practices.

Choosing What Matters in an Age of Distractions

Second, focal practices have a quality of continuity—they connect us with a network of people and ecosystems as we engage in activities and use material. Food preparation or playing a musical instrument, for example, gather material from various sources and influences, and can happen within a certain tradition of cooking or instruction. They are thus focal practices, in that they connect us with other people and places. Third, focal practices have centring power—they help us be in touch with reality greater than our own concerns.

They enable us to relax and gain perspective, see how our lives might be out of balance, and gain clarity on how to redress that imbalance. Instead, the pilgrimage he invites us to embark on is closer to home — a simultaneously inward and outward journey to centredness that takes us beyond the cluttered world of email, cell phones and ubiquitous screens to clarity, simplicity and focus.

Living into Focus | Baker Publishing Group

Focal practices take many forms. Walking somewhere rather than driving, even if it takes things out of our control, may give us a richer experience of the place we are moving through than passing through at 90 mph or sitting in eight lanes of standstill traffic. Bird-watching, bicycling, gardening, playing music together, eating in good company — these practices allow us to slow down, pay attention, and develop character. Boers certainly admires Old Order Mennonites for their willingness to part with technology in pursuit of the simple life.

Yet he is no Luddite — he owns a cell phone and a computer, and advocates a responsible use of technology rather than a blanket condemnation. In fact, there are certain focal practices — blogging, for example! Technology is part of human culture, and so it is not to blame for our own misuse of it.