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. ...
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