A few excerpts from some of the things I’ve read recently and haven’t gotten around to writing about.

Dear Conservative Movement:  Stop Ruining my Life

But perversely, you seem to thrive on this sort of failure. You’ve always accused liberals of creating social ills with government programs, immediately followed by proposing government programs for said social ills. The same is true of you. The more anxiety we have about family breakdown, the more we donate to the Heritage Foundation. Because the cure for deracinated social atomism is obviously a white paper.

The only thing you’re really good at is preserving the conservative movement. And that project bored me to tears.

Like the Air they Breathe:  The Online Life of Kids

There is no turning back from the digital revolution. It is not realistic for most families to declare a principled disconnection from electronic media and the digital world. Nevertheless, this important report serves as an undeniable warning that America’s young people are literally drowning in an ocean of media consumption. There is every reason for parents to be concerned about dangers ranging from the content of this media, to the way digital saturation changes the wiring of the brain, to the loss of literacy and the reading of books, to the fact that many teenagers are far more connected to their friends through social media than to their own families in their own homes. Teenagers are forfeiting sleep and other important investments of time because they experience panic when they are digitally disengaged for even a few moments.

The Two Stages of the Spiritual Life

The language of the ascent becomes dangerous in the second half of a man’s life. It becomes disguised egocentricity, climbing at all costs, misusing power, using ideology and principles to avoid relationship–what Saint Paul calls law instead of Spirit in his Letter to the Galatians. Thus we see that all great spiritual teachers like Jesus himself, seem to have two sets of teachings: one for the early multitudes and another for the mature disciples (see Matthew 13:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:1-3). Much spiritual damage has been done in failing to make this distinction. Institutional religion and most religious movements prefer to keep their members at the early stage. They operate better in the managerial/heroic model, even at the cost of significant loss of depth, initiative and creativity. The false king wants order and predictability, not creativity. Organizationally he is right of course. Spiritually, however, he is dead wrong.

The great spiritual teachers have a different wisdom for the second half of the journey. It is no longer an “ego morality” of world-clarifying dualisms. It is no longer concerned with boundaries and identity. it is no longer concerned with questions of ‘Who am I?’ or ‘Who is in and who is out?’

I Will Remember Your Tweets no More

For Christians, this means that the Internet’s ability to help us remember rightly is a chance to practice a theologically-informed, true kind of forgiveness. Rather than downplay an incident or cut people off every time they annoy us, we have the chance to look at the past with Google-like accuracy and choose to stop holding those wrongs against those who harmed us. Instead of constantly blocking, de-following, and un-friending, we can choose to see people and their wrong through the blood of Christ.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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