My Online Image: Facebook, Twitter, and Privacy

Just a few years ago social networking was primarily a past time for dramatic preteens, garage bands, and spammers, but more recently an older demographic has been drawn to sites like Facebook and Twitter, altering the landscape of these social worlds and normalizing to some extent the disclosure of personal information online. One challenge of this new technology has been the balance between privacy and public disclosure. At this point, most of us have heard the horror stories of people who … [Read more...]

Going Beyond New Releases: Appreciating Culture as Tradition, Part 2

If you haven't already, read part 1 here.Aside from consumer culture, society's increasing dependence on and trust in technology has contributed to the belief that what is newer is always better and more worth our time. Technology has always had an affect on how works are made and what gets made, but the rapid changes in technology that we have seen in the last 30 or so years have had a more dramatic effect and have given rise to the belief that cultural artifacts can become obsolete, just … [Read more...]

Podcast #49: Terminator, Twitter, and Meaningless Fun

This Week: Here are some questions: Is it possible someone actually likes Terminator Salvation? Is there a spiritual benefit to watching "dark" films? Is Twittering in church really a good idea? Should we feel guilty about having fun? These questions have one thing in common: we try to answer them! If that doesn't make you want to listen, how about our Top 5 Worst Ideas for a Twitter Update?Every week, Richard Clark and Ben Bartlett sit back and discuss the posts of the previous week on Christ … [Read more...]

An Ecclesiology of Twitter

Here's a thought experiment for you: Imagine that the next time you're in church, you take out your iPhone and start twittering. You tweet the part of the hymn that most impacts you. You tweet your expectations and hopes for the sermon. You tweet some various points of the sermon. You tweet some ways you will apply the sermon. Then you tweet the benediction. Now, imagine that everyone around you is doing the same thing. Don't you feel like you're having real fellowship? Isn't this a great … [Read more...]

Podcast #43: Susan Boyle, Sliders, iPods and Facebook

Click here to listen!This Week: Rich and Ben address Susan Boyle's sudden rise to stardom, the appeal (and lack of appeal) of Sliders, and the cultural effects of the iPod. They also have a strong disagreement over the nature of Facebook.Every week, Richard Clark and Ben Bartlett sit back and discuss the posts of the previous week on Christ and Pop Culture, acknowledge and respond to the big issues in popular culture, and give a sneak peak at the week ahead. We love feedback! If you’d like t … [Read more...]

How Facebook Challenges Narcissism

The great culturally-critical cliche these days has been the claim that Facebook (as well as it's similar competitor, Twitter) is for self-absorbed narcissists intent only on furthering their personal brand and drawing attention to themselves. This claim is based on some amount of truth: there are those out there who use Facebook for exactly such a purpose, and there are many web sites that enourage people to do as much.What this claim ignores, however, is that a major part of Facebook has l … [Read more...]

Compartmentalizing My World: iPods and Community.

Before I owned an iPod I thought they were the most overpriced electronic devices on the market. Why would anyone spend $400 on what was essentially an exaggerated Walkman? After we bought my wife an 30 gig iPod for her long commutes to school, I started to realize how useful they actually were, and within a week or so of owning my first iPod I started to swear to my friends that if it broke I would find a way to buy a new one within a week.What sold me on them was not the ability to play all … [Read more...]

How Sliders Made Me Think Despite the Odds

When I was in high school I used to watch TV with my parents a lot, and they absolutely loved science  fiction. A short list of what we watched together looks like this: Star Trek, Star Trek: the Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The X Files, SeaQuest, Quantum Leap. and Sliders. It's easy to understand why I didn't have a lot of friends at the time. Well, a few months ago I started watching streaming video from Netflix, and found out they offer the complete series (is serieses a … [Read more...]

Learning from "The Netbook Effect"

In the March issue of Wired there's an article, "The Netbook Effect: How Cheap Little Laptops Hit the Big Time" by Clive Thompson, that got some wheels turning for me. The article is about the sort of accidental takeover of the netbook - the totally stripped down $300 laptops that hit the market in the form of the Asus Eee PC in late 2007.The Eee PC's desigers were working off of the concept behind One Laptop Per Child. The idea was to create an incredibly efficient system that would give max … [Read more...] What does Dwight have to tell us about God?

When we think of the intersection of popular culture and faith, some of the most pronounced examples that may come to mind are celebrities speaking out on their personal religion. Whether it's Britney's Southern Baptist roots, the Jonas brother's Evangelicalism, Mel Gibson's Catholicism, or Tom Cruise's Scientology, our celebrities' faiths are often just as much of their image as the way they speak, their wardrobe, or their politics. In many ways, celebrities are our most visual examples of … [Read more...]