Tag Archives: technology

Tech = Baal (Re: Idol worship)

Personal Handy-phone System mobiles and modems...

Baal worship...new skool

Baal worship...old school

TECH = Baal. True or false?

We’d like to think idol worship isn’t something we practice. We don’t bow down to manmade gods like the foolish people of old we read of in the Bible, right?

Not so fast. (I think we do)

Probably, if we can’t live without something invented in the last 150 years, it qualifies as an idol–Yes. A full-tilt false god.

If we have a trust and loyalty to something we assume is a necessity, I think we should challenge this devotion.

Here’s the ugly truth. You probably worship your computer, your Apple product, your GPS, your phone, or your car. (Our association with technology is the modern equivalent of Old Testament style idolatry.)

A “long ago” 2007 British study of 1,256 people showed that 1/3 of those asked would pass on $2 million to keep their cell phone. 85 percent of those studied said that having a mobile phone was “vital to maintaining their quality of life.” The statistics are likely far higher now, almost 4 years later.

So, it’s simple. Tech = Baal.
Now, will you give up your false god?

At first we rebuff this allegation of idol worship. We’ll think of ways that the things we adore are for safety, common sense practicality, or we’ll come up with a rationalization for why our devotion isn’t really so bad.

The prevailing idea is that if the technology is available, there’s a kind of moral imperative to utilize it. “If it’s possible–it should been done.” Hence, things like octoplets, an artist being fitted with digital camera skull implant, and decades-long life support situations happen. (Can you think of another gross abuse of technology?)

What of ourselves is lost because of these unnatural loyalties?
Probably, a basic part of our humanity.
Sound overblown?
Let’s be serious: We become what we serve. We are enslaved to what we worship. What are the repercussions for serving technology?

Here’s a case in point:

It seems no one (especially under a certain age[?]) can image going without a mobile phone, or internet capabilities for a few hours, let alone a few days. Could you give up technology that’s been created within the last fifty years for a full week? Would it cramp your style, and make you grouchy? (Signs say yes…that’s old school tech…the 8 Ball.)

281 million youth have cell phones. I admit I have withdrawal symptoms without access to the internet for more than a day. I get twitchy. It’s uncomfortable. And no, I don’t like it.

So, I think we have to be honest and address this. What do you think about it? When have you worshiped technology? What do you think you do about it?

Is there a Christian spiritual practice that can help us?

Absolutely. It’s called fasting. Prayer, fasting, and giving to the poor are the pinnacle of Kingdom of God living, according to Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Without these things, we are not living as a follower of Christ as he laid it out.

A Tech Fast should be part of your spiritual practice, because it will get your attention better than most things will. This will create growth and maturity.

Fasting challenges our loyalties.
(Read that again)
When we desire the thing we fast from, it creates a space to concentrate and reflect. It re-proritizes our habits, calls them into question, and helps us sift through the what we we should hold dear versus what should be leashed and subdued. When the pang to digitally connect, shout out our thoughts to the masses, or get instant information strikes, we can train our hearts as we place prayer and worship in that void that feels like need. The point isn’t to prove our righteousness by going without, but rather to create time and space for heightened refocus and Christian spiritual practice. God has us engage in fasting for our benefit, not his. It’s a training method…a.k.a. a disciplineIt’s a command to fast. (Sorry to break this to you.)

BUT GOOD NEWS: The effect is refreshment, and quite likely a more informed outlook on our lives.

Will you take the JANUARY TECH CHALLENGE with me? Kick the new year off on a new foot. Between now and the end of January, fast 3 times from technology. Start off with a few hours, or half of a day (if you’re ready for THAT-gulp), and try to build up to 2-5 days by the end.

Feedback appreciated on this. Thanks.

God Bless you.
Lisa

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Is technology changing YOUR brain? short fun test

Texting on a keyboard phone

Image via Wikipedia

 

10 Signs your brain is changing because of technology (computer, internet, twitter, facebook, texting, iPhone, iPad, DS, etc.)

The ones with “*” are  just made up for the sake of humor. (Let’s just say, I like to insert humor, and yet be an insightful resource for you. Your welcome people of earth.)

THE TEST

Answer yes or no:

1. You spend more than two hours a day interacting with/using technology.

2. You have extraordinarily strong thumbs compared to an Amish person.*

3. You have a short attention span, which has gotten shorter. (Finishing this self-test even seems like a challenge at this point.)

4. You have trouble sleeping at few times per week.

5. Your short term memory seems to be suffering. (Like right now, for instance, you might even have to concentrate to remember why you wanted to take this self-test in the first place).

6. You like to change channels on the tv a lot, and you bounce from thing to thing online, at work, and at home.

7. If you set out to do something, and get online, or start texting, you tend to get distracted from your original task or objective. (Maybe-just now-you were checking on the news, email, or something, and whoops here you are taking this test, ’cause, “heck, it’ll only take a minute!”)

8. You get more than 1 headache a week.

9. You’d contemplate enhancing your brain with extra RAM or flash memory, (if it were possible.)*

10. 48 hours with no technology seems quite unlikely, or basically a bad idea.

HOW DID YOU DO?

1 or more YES answers mean your thought patterns (and your actual physical grey matter) is being altered by the “cooperation with technology.”  So, basically you could be “less human” than you were just a short while ago. Okay, I just made all that up about the test answers. It’s not scientific. Nevertheless, beyond the silliness, the point stands: What we do and think thoroughly (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically) changes us. For real.

Please post your results, out of 10. Let’s see how we all stack up.

(My number is 10 of 10)

From studying the brain, scientists have found that repeated thoughts and mental or physcial actions (like texting, reading, speaking, running, etc.)  actually create physical grooves in the brain, not just faster neuron pathways. When we practice a skill, learn a sport, or study facts, a little trench is carved into our brain tissue. This is also another reason it is hard to break a habit. A habit is physical. One must make a new brain groove to break a habit. By 21 days, a habit is well-formed.

This natural condition of the function of the brain helps us to learn–in the best-case scenario. In a worst-case scenario these thoughts become ditches of obsessive thoughts, vices, bad habits, sin, and worse. We learn to be bad, better. And, with all the technological interaction, we become more ill-at-ease, tired, nervous, restless, and unhappy, in fact.  There is a physical change detectable on brain imaging equipment because of it. (So, you could say, it’s not just “in your head”. ha. groan. sorry.)

Food for thought? YES. Think about all the negative chatter that goes on in the mind, for instance, everyday, or even every hour. A person thinks about sixty thousand thoughts each day. Many are random thoughts and many are negative. Have you ever taken an hour and made a hatch mark for each non constructive or obsessive thought that comes to your mind? You could get a hand cramp!

There’s that song, “Be careful little eyes what you see…and little hands what you do…and little ears what you hear…” Well, yeah. Be careful. It matters.

We must watch our thoughts and actions, because they actually make up who we are.

Also if you feel a specific pattern occurring in your life, or notice habitual unhelpful thoughts afflicting you, you can know for certain they are creating an actual trench in your mind. So, take it as your own “red flag”.

See if you can “get a new groove” going. Consciously fasting from technology, even for a short bit, can give your groove-producing brain a well-needed break.

My friend Ed, recommends a needed 5 minute retreat, here. Good stuff!

The expression “a one track mind” is truer than we ever believed!

Any other ideas?

Hipster Pundit, Brett McCracken Responds to 5 cool questions

Here is the much-anticipated interview with Brett McCracken, author of Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide. Thank you, Brett! This was fun.

Brett's face in the City

5 Questions for
Brett McCracken


1. Does the hipster Christian phenomenon pivot on the “Be in the world, but not of the World” Scriptural directive?
I think the hipster Christianity phenomenon is absolutely about this notion of how to be in the world but not of the world (with emphasis, perhaps, on the “being IN the world” part). Christian hipsters want, above all, to engage with the culture at large. They want to have a meaningful dialogue and cooperation with the wider world, rather than being cut-off or segregated from it. Rather than having a Christian music industry, a Christian movie industry, Christian this-that-and-the-other, these Christian hipsters long for a faith that is relevant in and among the culture. They don’t want to be set in opposition to the culture, but rather they want to be productively engaged with it. Their instincts tell them that if Christianity is true, it is not something meant to be separatist, overly legalistic, and anti-everything. Rather, it should be something that speaks into every aspect of life and illuminates the beauty and wonder of existence. They resonate with the famous C.S. Lewis quote that says, I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

2. If you could communicate one thing to your readers that they would remember forever (and in so doing, change them forever), what would it be?

Wow, that’s a big question! I guess I would want to communicate the notion that the “coolest” thing about Christianity has little to do with how trendy, cutting-edge, and “of the moment” it appears to the culture, but has everything to do with the transcendent truth of a Gospel that changes lives.

3. Every writer has “haters”, what do yours complain about? (Mine complain about nipples, but that’s a rather long story, and this interview is about YOU.)
A lot of the critics of the book suggest that I’m not giving enough due to the cultural context and “mode-of-delivery” through which the Gospel is communicated. They maintain, rightly, that the Gospel always has to be presented in ways that are embodied, formed, packaged, and specific to the context/audience in which it is being presented. I totally agree. I’m not suggesting that the Gospel is just some nebulous cloud of ideas or concepts that we can communicate apart from form. Of course we have to consider the medium, the context, etc. All I am saying is that form influences content, and we have to be careful that the various new strategies we are undertaking (placing tons of emphasis on looking cool, cutting-edge technology, etc) are not negatively impacting the content of the message or distracting us from making sure we are communicating a deep, rich, transformative message. At it’s core, my caution in the book is that we not get so preoccupied with hip/cool/attractive packaging that we forget what is actually rich and powerful about the message itself.

4. To you, is “cool” more of a state of mind than anything? Why or why not?

Hmm, that’s an interesting question, because I think it is and it isn’t a state of mind. In the sense that the pursuit of “cool” is very self-conscious and a sort of existential endeavor to be “in the know,” I definitely think it is a state of mind. But then again I think that there are plenty of “naturally cool” people who never really think about or try to be cool. It’s not something they consciously strive for as much as it is just a side-effect of them truly liking certain bits of culture that happen to be fashionable or appear cool in a given cultural context.

These days, it’s hard to tell where “cool as a self-conscious state-of-mind” ends and “cool as a natural outgrowth of who one is” begins. The problem is complicated by the fact that cool today (as in, “hipster” cool) is largely defined on the superficial “how one dresses” level, so you have “true” hipsters who dress in a certain way but then you have the “I want to be cool” hipsters who can simply purchase the exact same look at American Apparel or Urban Outfitters. On a phenomenological level, there is no difference between the two. Both types signify “cool,” which we take to mean “elitist/snobby/annoying.” So whether one actually IS elitist/snobby/annoying doesn’t matter, because “the look” communicates this regardless.

5. Have you ever considered offering McDonalds a signature menu item? (For instance, like the McCracken Sandwich: 8 crispy strips of bacon, melted sharp cheddar cheese, and sweet horseradish sauce on crispy, lightly toasted Sourdough bread pocket.) [Seriously, that whole thing came to me in one package like that. It must be a God thing.] If you have not, this could plague your mind, and I’m sorry about that. I too am feeling hungry.

If I were to have a McDonalds signature item, it would probably include arugula, grass-fed beef and raw goat cheese, just to cover my hipster bases.

For a signed copy (For beginners, that means eXtra cool) of Brett McCracken’s book, Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide. You can link over, and leave YOUR comment. YOU might be the lucky winner.

Post here and share any questions, thoughts, comments, etc.

Thanks for reading.

Lifestyle Design-Hot Tip (Pimp your celly)

No one will ever confuse me with Lifestyle Design guru, and polymath Tim Ferriss, but I have a cool tip that could save you a bunch of time if you own a mobile phone.

Messages...messages...messages AHHHHhhhh

Have you ever tried to reach someone quickly, and had to call every phone they have? As you hear the ringing sound you basically shoot up little prayers, in hopes they will answer, “Oh, God, please God, let her pick up!” It’s got begging written all over it. Then you end up leaving one message per device, and wondering if or when they’ll get the message, and which one message will it be. Was the first one too frantic? Did you skip any info. on the third try? And when might they call you back? Yikes~”What if he left his phone in the car, and doesn’t get the message until he gets home? Ahhh.”

This JUST happened to me as I tried to contact my son’s autistic therapy program manager. I still haven’t heard from her. It’s a crap shoot…

Well, in typical fashion, Google as a free way to streamline and simplify this whole system and situation, seamlessly. The application will even turn phone messages into texts and send them to you. I like that one! I’m about to give it a try, if you do, let me know. If this seems like a helpful idea for your life, you might want to check out their short info video, and be dazzled by the wonders of technology, here –> Google/voice

Tim Ferriss, are you proud of me, or what?

Self-test: Is the Holy Spirit like a York Peppermint Patty?

 

 

taste the sensation

 

Self-test: Is the Holy Spirit like a York Peppermint Patty?

Some of you won’t remember the goofy York Peppermint Patty commercials of long ago, but thanks to the marvel of technology, you can view a couple retro ad pieces right now to either refresh your memory, or thank God you were not routinely subjected to such silliness.

After you watch the short video, have some fun and take this self-test to see how you score.

Self-test:
Answer true or false, and add up your scores.

1. When you hear the word “Holy Ghost” you get “shivers.” (You prefer the less weird  term “Holy Spirit.”)

2. Spiritual things are sometimes what you would call “spine-tingling”.

3. When eating minty candy, sometimes you feel a cool draft, or get a bit of a chill.

4. Watching shows like Ghost Hunters is fairly tempting.

5. You like to say “God bless you” when others sneeze–and now that you think of it, a dry and powerful sneeze seems practically other-worldly. (A wet one is just plain gross.)

6. If chocolate was served instead of bread at Communion, you would look forward to going to church more often.

7. The idea of dressing up as the Holy Ghost has never crossed your mind, yet you realize drinking some milk when eating chocolate makes sense.

8. If it were not sacrilegious, or highly odd, you could imagine the Holy Ghost (or Spirit) as a good choice for the pitchman for York Peppermint Patty and saying, “Get the (cool) sensation,” in a dry humor sort of way.

9. You can imagine Jesus eating and enjoying a York Peppermint Patty.

(Perhaps you can relate to this scenario: If you had two, and if he was physically there, you would give him one. If you had one, you would split it, but maybe you would have a brief conflict of conscience thinking of hiding it, or not mentioning it. After realizing that he would know anyways you would hope he wouldn’t mind if you kept the whole thing. Maybe you’d look at him in the eyes to check for a “knowing look,” after you averted eye contact for a little bit, first.)

10. You are finding that something simple like a York Peppermint Patty can somehow remind you of God, and yet make you a bit hungry for candy at the same time.

Scoring:

If you got more than 5 True answers you have made an irrevocable connection between a minty chocolate treat and one, or more, of the three persons of God. Use this connection wisely. It may help integrate your spirituality and draw you into a more intimate relationship with God, in everyday ways. On the other hand, you could get terribly fat filling a huge spiritual void with empty calories, and go to hell in the process.

Okay, I’m not really sure about that last part, but I do think something could go wrong in this whole setup, I’m just not completely sure what. And also, the test really isn’t scientific, in case you were wondering.

If you had fun, got a laugh, were the least bit amused, or even got mad, please tell a few people to drop by and visit to take the self-test for themselves. Then, they’ll get their own sensation. 

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.

-Lisa, peppermint patty lover, God lover, and putting on the pounds with various chocolates.

Power Source Problems: iPhone! & you?

It’s hard for me to let a good analogy go to waste.

Our relatives in Cleveland, OH recently experienced a blaze in their truck. They left their iPhone car charger plugged in while in was parked in their garage. At about 11p.m. that night, it got quite hot and caught the dashboard on fire. Thankfully, they noticed the fire before it spread to the rest of the garage and house, even though their fire detectors were non operational.

There are really a few insights here.

The obvious ones are:

1. Unplug items from car outlets when they are not in use.

2. Check fire detectors routinely to be sure that they work.

I think we’re a lot like this situation at times. We are all spiritual beings having an important physical experience in this world. Like it, or not, we are in some way connected to the Ultimate Source of power, (our Creator.) But, things get dangerous, for ourselves and others, when we are not used (read: living) for our purposes, and yet still–by our fundamental nature–remain plugged in, somehow unawares. We can come to ruin.

H1N1-hand washing fetish (photo)

Wash your hands five times before you leave.

 “Only YOU can stop disease-We recommend you wash your hands five times before you leave our restroom.”

Okay I made that up, but signs like that could be in the restrooms soon. People have stopped shaking hands, starting wearing masks, and might die of either swine flu or embarrassment if they would get caught forgetting to cough into their elbows. Life is getting strange.

When I saw this picture, it made me think that the stress of H1N1 panic, and hand washing, and sanitizing all things, in general, is starting to get a bit blown out of proportion…maybe to über hyper stage. I’m thinking, maybe a cultural fetish, or collective neurosis?

I’m all for clean hands. It really is important for good health and hygiene. (I’ve completely stopped just licking my fingers clean each day, in fact, just like a few people in my neighborhood have. If you’re wondering about bed bugs, Schuylkill could be a hot spot, don’t doubt it.)

But please-be assured, even with all the hype, H1N1 is very similar to the typical flu. It spreads very easily, many will get it, and some casualties will come, but mainly to the very old and the very young, and the ill.

It all had me wondering, Do people really wash their hands after using the facilities, or just when others are looking? I found this information below, after I started looking.

Here is an interesting article from cleanlink.com. It might make you want to bring your own paper towels along with you, wherever you go too!

Survey: Handwashing Statistics and Paper Towel Preferences

In an online survey conducted this spring, 94 percent of U.S. adults said they always wash their hands after visiting a restroom. However, when asked what percentage of other people they thought washed their hands each time after using a public restroom, 99 percent of U.S. adults felt that other people don’t do so each time, and almost half (48 percent) felt that people wash their hands less than 50 percent of the time after using a restroom.

Not surprisingly, visiting a public restroom is the situation that ranks highest in terms of health and hygiene concerns for U.S. adults. Asked during which situations they would be most concerned about health and hygiene risks, adults selected:
• Visiting a public restroom, 44 percent
• Preparing food or meals, 26 percent
• Contact with other adults, 9 percent 
Other answers were: contact with babies/children, 7 percent; contact with animals, 3 percent; other, 2 percent; and not sure, 8 percent.

“Clearly people think public restrooms present a hygiene risk and claim they are washing their hands after using those restrooms,” said Mike Kapalko, Environmental and Tork Services Manager, SCA Tissue North America. “But their observations of others in public restrooms indicate that a large percentage of them are not actually doing so.”

The survey results show that most people, given a choice in a public restroom, would prefer to dry their hands with paper towels. Asked how they would prefer to dry their hands in a public restroom if they had a choice, among those who visit public restrooms: 55 percent selected paper towels followed by high velocity jet air dryer, 25 percent; hot air dryer, 16 percent; linen or cloth towel, 1 percent; and not sure, 2 percent.

The majority of respondents, 59 percent, also selected paper towels as the fastest method for drying hands, followed by: high velocity jet air dryer, 25 percent; linen or cloth towel, 8 percent; hot air dryer, 4 percent; and not sure, 4 percent.

Asked what they thought was the recommended length of time to actively wash hands with soap and water after using the restroom, 38 percent said 30 seconds and 28 percent said 20 seconds, followed by: 60 seconds, 14 percent; over 60 seconds, 8 percent; 40 seconds, 6 percent and 10 seconds, 6 percent.

‘The recommended procedure for washing hands in restrooms is to wet them, then thoroughly wash with soap for 20 seconds before rinsing off and drying them completely with a paper towel,” said Kapalko. “If faucets are not touchless, it is further recommended that the paper towel be used to shut them off to keep from re-contaminating their hands.”

The survey also asked questions to determine opinions on the most hygienic and effective ways for drying hands and reducing bacteria levels. In both cases, the opinions reflected in this poll have been disproved in a controlled experiment conducted late last year by Westminster University in London.

Asked for the most hygienic method for drying wet hands, respondents selected: high velocity jet air dryer, 41 percent; paper towel, 31 percent;  and hot air dryer, 20 percent. Not sure was selected by 6 percent and linen or cloth by 2 percent.

Asked to rate each method as extremely, very, fairly, somewhat, or not at all effective in drying hands and reducing bacteria levels,  poll respondents gave extremely or very effective ratings to::
• High velocity jet air, 65 percent of respondents
• Paper towels, 53 percent
• Hot air dryer, 50 percent
• Air drying or drip drying, 19 percent
• Linen or cloth towels, 15 percent

“These opinions giving high marks to hot air and jet air dryers are fairly widespread among consumers, but scientific research shows that paper towels are not only more hygienic and effective but that hot air and jet air dryers actually do more harm than good when it comes to reducing bacteria in public washrooms,” said Kapalko.

“Controlled experiments conducted in December 2008 by scientists at the University of Westminster found that paper towel drying reduced the average number of bacteria on the finger pads by up to 76 percent and on the palms by up to 77 percent,” Kapalko said. “By comparison, electric hand dryers actually caused bacteria counts to actually increase.”

Test results of the Westminster study showed:
• Traditional warm air dryers increased the average number of bacteria by 194 percent on the finger pads and by 254 percent on the palms.
• Jet air dryers increased the average number of bacteria on the finger pads by 42 percent and on the palms by 15 percent.

The scientists also carried out tests to establish whether there was the potential for cross contamination of other washroom users and the washroom environment as a result of each type of drying method. They found:
• The jet air dryer, which blows air out of the unit at claimed speeds of 400 mph, was capable of blowing micro-organisms from the hands and the unit and potentially contaminating other washroom users and the washroom environment up to 6.6 feet away.
• Use of a traditional warm air hand dryer spread micro-organisms up to 31.5 inches from the dryer.
• Paper towels showed no significant spread of micro-organisms.

“The Westminster results confirmed previous studies that show thorough hand drying with a paper towel is not only the most effective way to dry hands and reduce bacteria but also the most hygienic when it comes to preventing the spread of bacteria in public restrooms,” Kapalko said.

The commissioned survey was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Tork brand of SCA Tissue North America and drew 2,516 U.S. adult respondents 18 or older — 46 percent male and 54 percent female.  It was conducted Feb. 26 through March 2, 2009.