Appetite for Production: Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Content?

Consider these realities of our digital world:According to, 12.5 billion videos are viewed each month on YouTube. We’re watching nearly 200 videos on computers, cell phones, iPads, and other digital gear every month. Twitter claims that tweets rose from 5000 a day in 2007 to 50 million tweets a day this year – 600 tweets per second! My fourteen-year old daughter edits more (and arguably better) video on her laptop than I did in four years as a film student in college.Our mea … [Read more...]

Glee's "Grilled Cheesus": Is Religion Beyond Reason?

The writers behind Glee understand that faith and spirituality is a deeply profound and personal concept. They understand that each person struggles with questions of faith and that those questions must not be trivialized or stifled. They get that many of us find a need to pray to a higher power, to believe in something bigger than ourselves, and to devote our lives to something great. That's why they thought long and hard about a storyline to open up the episode with and provide a context for … [Read more...]

When Google Doesn't Meet Your Religious Standards

Surfers who are concerned about being potentially morally and spiritually contaminated by Google's search results now have some "holier" alternatives. NPR recently wrote about several alternative search engines that cater to specific religious groups: In a world where Google has put every bit of information at our fingertips, some people are now demanding less information when they surf the Internet.Some Jews, Muslims and Christians are abandoning Yahoo and Google and turning to search engines … [Read more...]

Podcast #94: Swift and Kanye Make Up & Viral Culture

In the world of celebrity, this was kind of a big deal. At the MTV Video Music Awards, Taylor Swift and Kanye West both addressed the events of last year (in which Kanye pulled a Kanye) the only way they know how: through song! Was it beautiful? Awkward? Tacky? Horrible? Yes!But the odds are you didn't watch it on cable. Who has that anymore? Instead, you watched it on a little screen in on your computer because you were sent a link by someone or you saw it on Facebook. And that is how our … [Read more...]

The David Bazan Interview: Coming to Terms with Doubt

Last September, David Bazan released an album of ten songs equal parts resolute and rollicking. His was an achievement, a truly great rock record in every sense of the word. The buzz surrounding Curse Your Branches was that as the title suggests, Mr. Bazan, a longtime outlaw of the CCM scene, had cursed his branches. I had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Bazan last week about that album, his "breakup" with God, and his thought and faith at present.Christ and Pop Culture: You made public … [Read more...]

What Reading a Digital Bible Does to Your Mind

When Nicholas Carr wrote "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" in The Atlantic in the summer of 2008, I was totally unaware. I didn't even know that kind of question would be asked, and I wasn't really interested in such things at the time. I was just a designer who wanted to play with his son, make pretty graphics, and avoid losing any digits in the big paper cutter at work. Fortunately, he expanded on his interesting thesis in this year's The Shallows; I immediately recognized myself in his early … [Read more...]

My Friend, the Atheist

In Leo Tolstoy’s novel, Anna Karenina, Levin and Vronsky share a deep but often tense friendship. They despise the likes, dislikes, and various life choices the other has made. Each has gone his own way regarding living conditions, social status, and worldview. Tolstoy describes the friendship as one only possible with friends from childhood.Reading this passage on the DC metro several summers ago, I immediately thought of my own old friendships. Several of them date back to before high s … [Read more...]

The Power of the iPad

I am one of the now two million brand new iPad owners. I, like most of you, saw the advertisements for the iPad and thought to myself, "What would I do with one of those?" So, naturally, I discounted the iPad as another high tech gadget that does the same things as just about any smart phone these days, only on a bigger screen. But that was before I got my hands on one. My father-in-law received one as a gift on his birthday and let me play with it. Within moments I was hooked and, suddenly, I … [Read more...]

Podcast #84: Spilling Oil and Banning Porn

Everyone agrees that the oil spill is a horrible, horrible thing. What is clear from this podcast, though, is that not everyone agrees on the best way to respond to that catastrophe. In this episode, Ben and Rich go head to head and consider what the Christian's response should be to tons of oil destroying an entire ecosystem. They also discuss their opinion of Steve Jobs' desire to keep iPhone users "free from porn."Every week, Richard Clark and Ben Bartlett acknowledge and respond to the big … [Read more...]

Facebook and the Ugliness of Divorce

Let's be honest: Facebook lets us peek into the lives of others and find out not simply what's going on but how they're experiencing what's going on. Status updates, pictures, comments, etc. all give us a glimpse into their world and their feelings about their world. Sometimes the view of it all makes us smile, chuckle, or fall over clutching our sides in outright laughter.But there are times when the view from our computer screen makes us cringe, cry, and pray for our friends. In many ways … [Read more...]