It’s Time To Break Free From the Algorithm-Driven Life

A recent story from Wired helpfully explains the latest batch of changes Facebook has made to its algorithm—the algorithm that sorts through the billions of available articles, photographs, and videos to determine the few we will actually see as we scroll our news feeds. This is just their latest attempt to head off the never-ending stream of content that is illegal, abusive, or otherwise inappropriate, and to deliver content that is safe, inoffensive, and within the bounds of their “community …

The Perils of Social Media

I’ve got one last Q&A to share from my time in the Philippines (where, over the course of the event, I spent a couple of hours answering questions). In this clip I was asked to comment on the ways Christians conduct themselves online. Here is what I had to say. Transcript How should Christians engage with current issues of the day using social media? I think we’re starting to realize that social media has some real limitations built in. Twitter …

Become a Patron

The Sins Forbidden by the Ninth Commandment in a Social Media World

In an article I shared a couple of days ago, we began to take a look at the ninth commandment (“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”) and its relevance in a world in which so much of our communication takes place through social media. Specifically, we considered some of the duties required by the commandment. Today we want to look at the flip side and consider the sins it forbids. As with the first article, I will …

The Duties Required by the Ninth Commandment in a Social Media World

You must be familiar with the ninth commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” On a surface level it’s simple enough: Don’t tell lies about other people. But Christians have traditionally understood it to entail far more than this. With the rise of modern communications technologies, and especially social media, I am convinced we need to diligently apply ourselves to a fresh consideration of all this commandment requires of us. I plan to do this in two …

Social Media and Churches / Are You Addicted to Your Cell Phone?

At a recent event in Johannesburg, South Africa, I was asked about the relationship of churches and social media, and also asked about cell phone addiction (and information about my experiment in getting rid of my smart phone for a time). In these two videos I give my answers.   Transcript What problems can the internet and social media cause for churches? Problems for churches with internet and social media; I do think the gossip factor is huge. I think …

Peaceful Polemics Online

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. This wonderfully pessimistic French phrase roughly translates to “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” It points us to one of the undeniable facts about life in this world: that though times and contexts change, humanity remains the same. Today, we find ourselves at a fascinating point in history, a point when we are witnessing a radical shift in the way we communicate. We are transitioning from old media to new …

Chili’s, Guacamole, and @JohnPiper

A few years ago I was at a conference to lead a breakout session and perhaps to do some writing about the event. There were a couple of keynote speakers there, John Piper among them, and they were carrying a much heavier load. If I remember correctly, the first day ended with an informal Q&A session held in the lobby rather than the main auditorium. Hundreds of us crowded into that lobby to eat dessert and to hear answers to …

Can I Ask a Dumb Question?

Have you ever said something dumb—something really, really dumb? Have you ever said something so dumb that you cringe to even allow the memory to crawl back into your mind? We all have at one time or another, haven’t we? Few things are more painful than realizing we’ve displayed ignorance or arrogance through dumb statements or dumb questions. Really, the only thing more painful is having our dumbness met with anger, outrage, or mockery. Such responses only compound the pain …

7 Rules for Online Engagement

Christians have had their share of social media successes in over the past few years, many of them related to identifying theological error and defending theological truth. This work has been carried on through blogs, of course, but also through Facebook and YouTube and other forms of digital communication. But for all of the success, there have also been a lot of failures. Many of the most egregious failures have been in discussing or debating controversial topics. As we learn …

Ashley Madison and Who You Are Online

You have heard by now that the site AshleyMadison.com was hacked and that millions of users had their information made public. Ashley Madison is a company that exists to facilitate (and even guarantee) adulterous relationships, and now those people who wanted to be quietly unfaithful to their spouses have been suddenly outed. As I read the headlines and heard of some of those caught up in the scandal (including, sadly, Josh Duggar), I thought back to one of the first …