Second Nature: Best of 2014

From all of us at Second Nature, we wish you and your families a merry Christmas and happy new year. For our newer readers or for those who might have missed them, here’s a round up of our 10 most popular articles of 2014. (And if you’re curious, here’s our list from 2013).

10. Screwtape Writes Again: The Luciferian Laptop – Douglas Groothuis

My Dear Wormwood:

Your new charge is a seminary student, a young man of twenty-eight years of age, with plenty of idealism, but little experience or knowledge of the Bible or of… Read more

9. How the Christian Media Industry Made “Bible” into a Category Instead of a Proper Name – John Dyer

Tonight, after dinner, baths, and a lot of screaming, my wife and I will settle down next to our toddlers and attempt to inculcate them into the Christian mythos telling them the stories of Abraham, Rahab, Paul, Silas, and the rest. Sometimes we read from our own leather-bound Bibles, but most nights we use books with… Read more

8. Lance Strate’s Amazing Ourselves to Death, A Review – Peter Fallon

Years ago at NBC News, Gene Shalit told me a story about the difficulties of being an arts critic on television. In 1974 he delivered a less than appreciative review of the sentimental Joe Camp movie “Benji,” about a lovable, stray and cloyingly cute mixed-breed dog and his unlikely adventures. As he always did at the end of his “Critic’s Corner” segment, he… Read more

7. The Marriage of Religion and Technology: Reading Apple’s Allegorical Advertising – Brett Robinson

Steve Jobs invited a number of lofty comparisons during his career. The New York Timeslikened him to Thomas Edison. Others have called him the Leonardo da Vinci of our generation. Jobs also had a lot in common with the early American philosopher-inventor, Benjamin Franklin. He inherited Franklin’s “Protestant ethic” of mixing morality and… Read more

6. The Word Without Flesh: An Ethical Evaluation of Digital Media in Multi-Site Worship – Danny Hindman

It is not news to anyone that digital media use is a prominent characteristic of 21st century living. It is also not news to anyone that the American church is regrettably quick to fall in line with cultural whims (being all things to all people while remaining in the world but not of it is a delicate balance, after all). It should then be no surprise that digital media have become a prominent… Read more

5. How (Not) to Date Like Jesus – Michael Toy

Contrary to the claims of dozens of books found in Christian bookstores, or perhaps evidenced by those myriad books, the Bible does not include an instruction manual for dating like Jesus. One cannot imitate a celibate man if one wants to take steps in a road different from that of celibacy. Even the married exemplars to be found within our canon are so culturally… Read more

4. Are TED Talks the New Sermon? – Michael Toy

The digital age is invading our society like the army of locusts in Joel’s ambiguous prophecy (Joel 2:1-17). We have been ushered into a world of bits, bytes, data, and meta-data. Our interpersonal interactions are changing, our businesses are changing, and even the wiring of our brain is changing (Carr, Jackson, Brynjolfsson). “Media is now that in which we live, move, and have our being” (Schuchardt 2009). There is no question that the realm of media has invaded the church and… Read more

3. The Seduction of Transparency – Brian Brock

Transparency will make us all moral. Soon we will have the technical means necessary to make all the important acts in our lives traceable. Our power to spot and confront cheating and illegality of all stripes expands constantly. So our attention turns to ethical questions. Given our growing awareness that everything we do is being recorded and accessible to scrutiny, are we ready to embrace a bold new era in which corruption, vice and immorality will be progressively… Read more

2. Girl with a Gadget – Arthur Hunt

Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s A Young Girl Reading (1776) resides in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and is perhaps one of the most familiar paintings of a girl reading coming to us from the eighteenth century. When it was painted America was in revolt and France was on the verge of doing so. Despite the turmoil of her times, here she sits, held captive by… Read more

1. The Imminent Decline of Contemporary Worship Music: Eight Reasons – T. David Gordon

By imminent decline of contemporary worship music, I do not mean imminent disappearance. Commercial forces have too substantial an interest to permit contemporary worship music to disappear entirely; and human beings are creatures of habit who do not adapt to change quickly. I do not predict, therefore, a disappearance of contemporary worship music, sooner or later. Already, however, I observe its decline. Several years ago… Read more

 

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About the Contributor

Benjamin Robertson

Benjamin Robertson
Benjamin Robertson is a founding editor at Second Nature. He has worked in advertising for the Chicago Tribune and Gannett, and now is a web developer at Up&Up. He studied Communications and Media Studies under Dr. Read Schuchardt at Wheaton College in Illinois. He has presented papers on Marshall McLuhan, media ecology, and Christianity at the Media Ecology Association, National Communication Association, and the McLuhan's Philosophy of Media Centennial Conference in Brussels. He lives with his wife, Ruth, in Greenville, SC. His personal website is benjamingrobertson.com

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