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This week: the false intimacy of Facebook, a funny but smart read about how wives should not be too impressed by their husbands by Carl Trueman, good thoughts on being men in a digital culture for single men by Carolyn McCulley, and an excellent and helpful series on fasting from Grace Today.

Facebook: A New Kind of False Intimacy (Counseling Solutions Blog)

Facebook becomes the new dating context for the dissatisfied. It provides all the accoutrements of dating without the commitment or expectation of marriage. Simply put, we do not live with the people we socialize with on Facebook. Akin to dating, we can put our best selves forward for our Facebook friends. They never have to wash our underwear or smell our breath. It is when we think the folks on Facebook are different than the folks we live with that we get into trouble.

Our Own Propaganda: Wives Must Not Believe It (By Carl Trueman)

Talking to a colleague the other day, he told me how, on one Sunday, he preached an absolute stinker of a sermon.  After the service, he said to his wife, `That was the worst sermon I have ever preached.’  `No it wasn’t.’ she replied `Be encouraged.  I have heard you preach much worse.’  That is a truly great preacher’s wife for you.

Gentlemen in a Digital Age (by Carolyn McCulley)

Every time you battle the passivity of Adam, standing wordlessly by Eve as she was deceived, you build your muscles of godly masculinity. Every time you sow toward leadership and clarity by stating what you want and not trying to slide in the back door of any context, you are going to reap good fruit — even if you aren’t immediately rewarded with what you seek. Every time you consider the interests and perspectives of others, you are cultivating benevolent masculinity, the kind of manliness that adorns the gospel.

The Heart of Christian Fasting (Grace Today Blog)

Old Testament fasting presupposes the spiritual realities of sin, judgment, repentance, helplessness, and dependence on God. It is a serious mistake to pursue external fasting without an earnest appreciation for the more important internal reasons that prompt it. Someone who casually pursues fasting as a religious duty without a broken heart actually mocks the reason for its existence.

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Dr. David Powlison – Does God get upset when we disobey? from CCEF on Vimeo.

Depression’s Odd Filter (by Ed Welch)

You have to know that Jesus is not like a mere mortal. In human relationships, our love is way too dependent on how the other person is loveable. When you love others, they love you. When you don’t, they don’t. Jesus, however, is not like other people. When our love for him wavers, he loves us. Therein lies the fatal flaw in your hearing.

Millennials Snapshot (by Thom Rainer)

Only 13 percent of the Millennials considered in our study said that spirituality of any type was important to them. One out of ten. Most Millennials don’t even think about religious matters at all. This generation is not antagonistic toward religion, especially Christianity, but rather agnostic toward all aspects of religion.

Facebook Hype will Fade (by David Rushkoff, CNN)

We will move on, just as we did from the chat rooms of AOL, without even looking back. When the place is as ethereal as a website, our allegiance is much more abstract than it is to a local pub or gym. We don’t live there, we don’t know the owner, and we are all the more ready to be incensed by the latest change to a privacy policy, or to learn that every one of our social connections has been sold to the highest corporate bidder.

Whose Wife are You? (by Tim Challies)

If a wife wants to know if she is submitting to her husband, it may be that the better question for her to ask is, “Am I actively rebelling against his leadership?” It’s not a matter of the particulars of what she does compared to other women, but whether she is following her husband as he leads her into being his perfect complement

Are you sure you want a husband who…? (by Dan Phillips, Pyromaniacs)

You need to start with the premise that God’s “dumbest” idea about womanhood is light-years better than your “brightest” idea. You need to start there, and work it out.

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Parenting: The Joyful Impossibility (By Paul Tripp)

It hit me that If I were ever to be the tool of transforming grace in the lives of my children, I needed to be daily rescued, not from them, but from me! That’s why Jesus came, so that I would have every resource that I need to be what he has chosen me to be and do what he has called me to do. In his life, death, and resurrection I had already been given all that I needed to be his tool of rescuing, forgiving, and transforming grace.

Parenting: It’s Never an Interruption (by Paul Tripp)

But my problem is that there are moments when I tend to love my little kingdom of one more than I love his. So I’m impatient, discouraged, or irritated not because my children have broken the laws of God’s kingdom, but the laws of mine. In my kingdom there shall be no parenting on family vacation days, or when I am reading the paper on my iPad, or after ten o’clock at night, or during a good meal, or . . . I could go on.

The Tucson Tragedy and God’s Gift of Moral Language (by Kevin DeYoung)

The world, and to a large extent the church, has lost the ability to speak in moral categories. We have preferences instead of character. We have values instead of virtue. We have no God of holiness, and we have no Satan.  We have break-downs, crack-ups, psychoses, maladjustments, and inner turmoil.  But we do not have repugnant evil as the Bible has it. And this loss makes the world a more dangerous place. For the words may disappear, but the reality does not.

Living Life or Documenting Insignificance (by Randy Alcorn)

The problem isn’t just what we are doing with our time; it’s what we are NOT doing with it. Where does all the time spent on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube and television and radio actually come from?

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The January and February crop of releases includes a number that I would like to see but only one that I’ve actually viewed.

The Social Network (January 11)

This movie about the founders of Facebook currently has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 97%. This looks like a well-made film, rated PG-13. Here is Ebert’s review.

UPDATE: I thought this was just ok.  It definitely does not hedge on demonstrating the depravity of man. Timberlake and Jesse Eisenberg really are tremendous.

Freakonomics (January 18)

This is the documentary based on the book and blog by Stephen Levitt and Stephen Dubner. I loved the first book, thought the second was so-so, and enjoy their blog so I’ve been looking forward to seeing this.

Secretariat (January 25)

From the previews, this film looks like “Seabiscuit 2: Extra Cheese” but the reviews have actually been solid and it is a pretty amazing true story about a horse winning the Triple Crown (of which there have only been 3 in the last 60 years).

Conviction (February 1)

This movie looks like a great story and is rated R for violence and language.

Update 5/5/11

Powerful film. Watch it. Very bad language but very fitting. Read my full review here: Conviction: Who is My Advocate?

Waiting for “Superman” (February 15)

I’m already not a fan of the public school system, and the director of this film doesn’t seem to be either. It’s sure to be a bit manipulative in and how the stories of these kids are told but likely a very true indictment.

Update 5/5/11

Wow. Very well done documentary with very effective arguments. It only served to encourage us in our homeschooling but you ache for those kids who have no choice. Not the greatest film to watch if you’re a member of the teacher’s union!

UPDATE (2/1/11)

Unstoppable (February 15)

This was one of those late entries into the DVD releases. Unstoppable was a fun movie, not overacted by Pine, Denzel, or Rosario Dawson. It’s pretty predictable like any action flick but I enjoyed the 2 main characters and the back stories that give them at least a little depth. After seeing this film, I wanted to park an old car or camper on the train tracks behind our house and watch a train  just destroy it! (staged, of course, with their consent!) When you watch this movie, you have to think about why you like it, especially the ending: men sacrificing for the sake of others, coming through when things are stacked against them.

Get Low (February 22)

This was #3 on my top movies of 2010 and I wrote a review of it here. This is a fantastic movie; don’t hesitate to give it a view.

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Twitter! I have been actively engaged on it for almost 2 years now. It can definitely be a time sucker and can add to the information fire hose of today if you’re not careful but it’s been useful and helpful to me. Here are a few reasons why:

It’s Not Facebook

Facebook is a walled garden. Facebook is a home for moms. Facebook is 95% about me not information sharing or mutual encouragement. Facebook is almost purely status updates. This is what I’m doing. This is how my day was. Please click the “like” button. Please comment on my status so I feel good about myself. You hear plenty of “Are you my friend on Facebook?” but hardly ever “I de-friended that person on Facebook.” Why is that? It’s because the semantics of it make it like they’re real friends and you hate to say, “That person is not my friend anymore.”

Twitter gives you the freedom to share information or a link or something that helped you, engage in short dialog, pass on news, and encourage. Yes, there are status updates, but that’s not the power of Twitter or the direction it has gone. The power in Twitter is in its real time speed and dialog. Also, those on Twitter follow and unfollow each other all the time. I don’t get offended if an actual friend doesn’t follow me.

Yes, I do have a Facebook account but I frequent it only about once a month or so and usually post to it through Twitter and TweetDeck.

The Wisdom of Others

“God is many things, but “impressed” is never one of them.” – timconstant

You can face the reality of your sin with humble hope because Jesus faced the consequences of your sin with redeeming love.” – PaulTripp

“You can’t want what you don’t want while you don’t want it. But you can ask to want. And if God wills, the want will happen.” – JohnPiper

I love seeing the thoughts of others boiled down into 140 characters of gold. I love trying to boil a thought into 140 characters, often it lets me know if I understand it or not.

Professional Connections

The social media engagement by others in my career arena, civil engineering, is slowly growing on Twitter. It’s still minimal but it’s moving along. However, one key part of my job is trying to keep our office up to speed in GIS and Geospatial technologies and systems. The geospatial industry has, to say the least, embraced Twitter and has become a major network. These folks have been an excellent source of wisdom and news and technical help and I’ve tried to be a resource as well. The use of social media in the geospatial industry, including the use of video technology and technical blogging, has even spurred minor discussion of what the need for conferences is anymore.

Instant News

You see things happening in real time, it is simply amazing. From breaking news to software updates to new blog posts to even a friend’s mom passing away, there is no more delay. Tweeting local driving conditions and last minute meeting updates becomes useful in this environment. Collaboration is one of the major things we’ve seen happen through Twitter in the Iran political uprising, conferences, and especially local organizations. This doesn’t work quite the same without the real time capability. The downside is that this can be overwhelming and distracting but there are filters and things like TweetDeck to help.

My Church

Our church is built on small groups that are 95% demographically focused. You have college aged single teams, young married folks, young families, and so forth. There are benefits and weaknesses to this system but that’s how our church is. Being in the young family demographic, Twitter definitely has been a tool to connect with some of those younger folks and has lead to some being able to build some of those relationships further with face to face time. Much of that would not have happened apart from Twitter.

Other good reads about Twitter:

SuperNews!: Twouble with Twitters (funny cartoon video)

12 Reasons to Start Twittering (Michael Hyatt’s Blog)

The Beginner’s Guide Twitter (Michael Hyatt’s Blog)


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