Pooping Elephants

DIGITAL MINIMALISM

Digital Minimalism is Cal Newport’s latest book.  I interviewed him on his previous book, Deep Work (see link below).  Both are absolutely terrific.  

I am gladly not on Twitter or Facebook, though some have tried to convince me otherwise.  I am on LinkedIn and obviously have some blogs.  These fit what I do. 

I’ve read several books and essays on the perils of social media.  All have been great, but Cal’s latest book and probably Neil Postman’s, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology are now my favorites.

Newport is hardly a Luddite, but he is a wise guide in helping us to think intentionally about how we spend our time.  If you look at Newport’s prodigious output of both popular and scholarly work, you know that he is practicing what he preaches.

Highly recommended!

Cal Newport: Focused Success in a Distracted World

THE PEOPLE OF CONCORD

https://www.amazon.com/People-Concord-Paul-Brooks/dp/1555914691/ref=olp_product_details?_encoding=UTF8&me=

I have a keen interest in Ralph Waldo Emerson and those in his orbit, so it was natural to pick this book up.  I read it on a recent trip.  It is better than I imagined.  Wonderfully written and peppered throughout with fascinating details about Concord, Massachusetts during the 1840s. 

If you have any interest in Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, et al. this is a terrific read.

DISAGREEMENT AND FRIENDSHIP

A friend asked me how Chesterton and H.G. Wells could respect each other so much when their disagreements were so stark.

Here’s the quote about Chesterton and Wells:

“Despite their creative goading, Chesterton, in his Autobiography, completed just weeks before his death, wrote movingly of their relationship: ‘I have argued with him [Wells] on almost every subject in the world, and we have always been on opposite sides, without affectation or animosity. . . . It is necessary to disagree with him as much as I do, in order to admire him as I do; and I am proud of him as a foe even more than as a friend.'”

And here is my response:

I was doing some work on the forthcoming “Stepping into Controversy” seminar this morning when your note came. 
Reviewing my research to various books I’ve read it seems that it is hard to downplay the role of technology, esp. social media.
One of the books I read is written by two Catholic scholars: A Mind at Peace: Reclaiming an Ordered Soul in the Age of Distraction.  The best part of the book in my estimation is where they show how technology robs us of our “face.”
 
Tribes today can be nasty because you can so easily hide your face.  In contrast to this, we need to cultivate being WITH people.  I like to say that “proximity produces perspective.”  If you are not close to anyone who has a different view than you, it is easy to be nasty and detached from the need to be gracious in disagreements.  Chesterton and Wells had a more difficult time hiding from one another!

STEPPING INTO CONTROVERSY INVITATION

Here’s the official announcement from Hill House.  And yes, the meals are free!
2104 Nueces Street (Austin, Texas)
Garage parking available across the street and parking can also be found on the street
Simply RSVP to me here.
Starting Wednesday, June 5
and running through Wednesday, July 17 
from 6-8 pm we will be hosting a weekly dinner and study at Hill House
taught by Dave Moore.    
Students and non students alike are welcome to attend. 

STEPPING INTO CONTROVERSY…WITH COURAGE AND CHRIST-LIKE CHARACTER

IS IT POSSIBLE IN OUR DIVISIVE AND TURBULENT TIME?

Taught by Dave Moore

Imagine that you are at your favorite coffee shop.  Everything about the place is great, except the tables are a bit too close to one another.   This, of course, makes it difficult to avoid eavesdropping.  Your reading tends to zone you out from the conversations of others, but not on this day.  To your utter amazement you listen in on a conversation between an ardent Trump supporter and one who gladly voted for Hillary Clinton.  It is not the various arguments that are being mustered for one candidate over the other that intrigues you.  Rather, it is the evident respect each person has for the other even while articulating their significant disagreements. 

It is hard to go back to your reading for the day.  You become preoccupied with why the kind of exchange you just heard is as rare as it is refreshing…even in your local church.

For seven weeks we will discuss several areas that can hurt or help us as we discuss controversial subjects.  A sampling of these include:

*Taking honest inventory of our own failure to be prepared and/or interact with grace

*The need to slow down and pay more careful attention to the definition of words

*Diagnosing how much of an echo chamber we live in

*The need to read and listen to those who make us angry…and to pay close attention to what our “opponents” can teach us

*Why the focus must be on our own challenges rather than being frustrated with those we disagree with

We will also be looking various points raised in How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds by Alan Jacobs.  Copies will be available.