Online social networking is a complex phenomenon that is both shaping and being shaped by twenty-first century sensibilities. More than just a tool for connecting with people we know, Facebook and MySpace have become arbiters of identity as we friend and un-friend, poke and post, join and leave with abandon. How do such tools help or harm our face-to-face relationships?
Those in the twenty-first century, industrialized world are increasingly dependent upon virtual realities for everyday tasks. Even the practice of typing on a typewriter has less direct mechanical relationship than that of typing on a computer keyboard. In this context, what is the value in choosing to do something by hand, in person, the old-fashioned way?
In a society in which coupling up is perceived as a sign of success, many have found meaning and pleasure in being alone. Sometimes being alone is lonely; other times, it’s not. How can alone times be periods of fullness? What’s good about being by one’s self?
If we’re faithful, God will bless us with material wealth. If we’re faithful, we will live in voluntary poverty. Christians past and present argue and live both of these positions with equal tenacity…so what is abundance and what is its relationship to scarcity? What does prosperity look like in the Kingdom of God?
Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree embodies a human characteristic that must have been present since the creation of the world: that of assigning human qualities to trees and attributing deep meaning to their shapes, qualities and uses. A collection of reflections on the trees that are characters in our histories and symbols of critical times, places and ideas.
In some circles, syncretism is the bogeyman of the Christian faith. And yet, figureheads like John Calvin proclaim the Holy Spirit as the author of all truth and encourage the embrace of truth wherever it may be found. As Jewish and Christian communities celebrate the thread that runs between the Passover and the resurrection, a consideration of grace, common or otherwise.