Editor's Note from May 12, 2016
At the Christianity Today and Behemoth offices, we’re reading Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age together as a staff. “Distracted at our dinner tables and living rooms, at our business meetings, and on our streets, we find traces of a new ‘silent spring’—a term Rachel Carson coined when we were ready to see that with technological change had come an assault on our environment,” she writes. “Now, we have arrived at another moment of recognition. This time, technology is implicated in an assault on empathy. … The very sight of a phone on the landscape leaves us feeling less connected to each other, less invested in each other.”
Indeed, a number of us here have felt the desire to go back to flip phones. Or we read Wendell Berry wistfully and daydream about working an orchard until we’re sore, in a magical land of No Signal. Dramatic exits might be the right thing for some people. But most of us need to start by putting our phones in a drawer when we get home. Or not set them on our nightstands and dining tables. Or walk to a colleague’s office instead of sending a Slack query. Most of us need to reprioritize that great evangelical tradition, “Quiet Time.”
That, in many ways, was the impetus behind The Behemoth. After 20 years of reading and reporting sadness and outrage for Christianity Today, I wanted to escape. But I knew fleeing and avoidance wasn’t the answer. More healthy would be to go home and read something that reminds me that the world can be a beautiful, good place. That there are many wonders and joys that never made my social media timeline. And that God is greater than all our sin. I started wondering whether other Christians wanted to read something like that, too. CT thought so, so here we are, almost two years later.
If The Behemoth inspires you to chuck your phone and move to the land of No Signal, go for it. Send us a letter and tell us how it’s going. We might join you yet. But our focus these days is to give our readers a respite, a moment to behold, ponder, and marvel. And then to go back into the world reminded that the latest outrage isn’t all there is to our Father’s world.
- How Plants Count
The language of the universe starts “1, 1, 2.” /
- Two Towns’ Eureka Moments
How a fishing village and an old lumber station are revealing mysteries about the galaxy and ancient Jewish worship. /
- A Peculiar People
We’re made different from each other to be different together. /
- The Bat
“The bat is dun, with wrinkled wings” /
- Wonder on the Web
Issue 48: Links to amazing stuff.