Cap-Quotes: Losing Our Virtue, Chapter 1 – “A Tale of Two Spiritualities”

Cap-Quotes: Losing Our Virtue, Chapter 1 – “A Tale of Two Spiritualities”

On my shelf and unread for many years is David Wells’ third book in his four-book series on theology and culture, Losing Our Virtue. It is now on the side arm of my reading chair and I am beginning my way through it. Even though it was written in 1998, his analysis of the contemporary Christian culture remains spot-on and vitally important for our consideration. The ills he outlines in the book not only remain nearly twenty years after he composed them, but are more more advanced in their expression and negative impact on the church. Even the contemporary reactions of a new generation to the former generation’s narcissism, remain narcissistic (perhaps I will address how I see that in a future post). Here are a few quotes from his first chapter, “A Tale of Two Spiritualities.” Wells begins to outline a few similarities between the culture of Martin Luther some 500 years ago and our contemporary era (though 20 years removed from today). Technology also reduces all of life to the productive order, to measurable benefits, to the calculus of cost an profit, and what is most efficient rapidly becomes what is ethically permissible or right. In a technologically dominated world, what is real is what is found along the flat plane of human management, where effects can be strictly controlled by our own causes. The use of technology greatly enlarges the sense of autonomy, of being at the center of one’s own world and of pulling the strings of its circumstances, through it is probably also the case that different generations look on technology in slightly different...
Why I’m Still a Mac Fan

Why I’m Still a Mac Fan

This past weekend was one of “those” weekends. It used to happen to me so much more frequently. However, I have not experienced it in almost five years: the dreaded laptop crash. I saw it coming over the past few weeks. The reliable and beloved MacBook Pro (2009) was not only slowing down, it was beginning to crawl like an infant. Last weekend, I removed just under 100 gigs of material (apps, docs, pics, music, etc.). Nothing. In fact, the dreaded Mac beach-ball-of-death was showing up on a more frequent basis throughout the week – to the point that it was taking almost as long as a Windows machine to boot, and then with every app I opened, I would have to wait for some 2 to 5 minutes before I could work. Nope. That won’t work. So, instead of trying to relax on my one day off, I spent the afternoon and evening in a last ditch effort to bring back my Mac bliss. I researched articles (on my iPad) on how to speed things up. I purged, I cleared, I dumped, etc., etc. Nothing. No change. At all. I finally came to the conclusion that I would have to do what every Microsoft phone-assistant suggests as a first step: reinstall the OS. Sweat, anger, fear – it all rushed upon me. Honestly, I haven’t felt this in years. I used to go through a Windows laptop every 18 months for a number of years before my Mac conversion. I forgot what it felt like – but the memory was quickly engaged and old feelings flooded back. However,...
How Shall We Then Facebook?

How Shall We Then Facebook?

Face it, Facebook (I use this as a moniker for all social media, i.e., Twitter) is a part of our culture and it is not likely to go away any time soon. Like money, the love of Facebook is the root of many evils, and yet, at the same time, it has the potential to be used for the glory of God and the heralding of the gospel. I am intrigued, overjoyed, and discouraged by Facebook’s social influence. I have lists of friends, church members, family members, co-workers, high-school friends, fellow pastors, theologians, churches, etc. I check in on some of these lists regularly just to see what’s going on in the lives of people I know – know of – or wish I knew. Again, it can be joyfully encouraging or a colossal waste of time and instantly discouraging. A friend recently sent me a note in which he was seeking advice in guiding one of his children through the decision on whether he would allow her a FB page or not. I immediately thanked God for having children who are young enough to make this request a non-issue in the Capranica home at this point. My friend’s child came up with a list of what she would not do on the page if and when allowed to have it. Good list, but it had me thinking. For some reason, Facebook has evoked an “I will not” response because it has such a potential for producing what is unhealthy. What about the “I Will’s” of Facebook? A host of “I Will Not’s” is perhaps necessary, but we often...
Using the iPad in Preaching: Benefits & Drawbacks

Using the iPad in Preaching: Benefits & Drawbacks

I began using my iPad to preach in October of 2010. Actually, I have used my iPad since I bought it for some teaching, preaching, and other messages.  I used it to speak and sing at several funerals. I”™ve used it at a wedding.  But in my regular preaching, I”™ve used the iPad every week since late October 2010. No regrets thus far. No debilitating challenges. While there are some potential drawbacks, none have been significant enough to outweigh some of the benefits. Benefits No More Paper & Printers. I typically bought a specially cut and weighted paper on which I printed my sermons.  The paper was perfectly suited for the laser printer I used, and was the perfect weight and thickness for my preferences in using paper notes in preaching.  I didn”™t have to fold an 8 ½ by 11 sheet in two, creating more bulk. No cutting required.  With my 6 x 9 sheet, I could use a larger font (14) and suitably indent sentences without creating too many pages or having to use larger sized paper. But no more. No more laser ink cartridges. No more screaming in agony when half-way through printing a sermon the cartridge begin to quit. No more purchasing the paper; nothing more to file afterwards.  I greatly prefer the electronic means to the paper pushing. Less Mess & Bulk. Early in my ministry I carried my notes loose in my Bible. No problem as long as you keep the pages numbered in case they get out of order. Loose leaf notes may be fine assuming you have a tall enough pulpit...
iPad and Pastoral Ministry: An Update – Part 1

iPad and Pastoral Ministry: An Update – Part 1

Last January, when Apple announced the introduction, I published a post about how I thought ordinary pastors might make use of this new category of computer.  A follow-up post is long over due.  In fact, when looking over which articles tend to be most perused, I find that previous article continually referenced. I purchased my iPad (the original version) just days after it was released.  I immediately began to put it to use in my regular life and pastoral ministry.  Before I chronicle how I currently use my iPad in ministry, let me give a few follow-up comments to the six reasons I proposed that ordinary pastors might benefit from the iPad. 1.  Magazines/Newspapers can now survive. Newspapers have embraced the iPad in mass from what I can see.  I have The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, CNN, and The Daily, all on my iPad.  So far, most of these e-papers do not charge for their content.  Some e-magazines do charge; those who do, have not received any of my cash.  Even though most of the e-papers are free I rarely open up any of their stand-alone apps.  Not that I don”™t consume massive amounts of news articles, I do.  As of today, Time, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Politico, CNN, The Washington Post, and many more are making their content free through Twitter. Subscribing to their Twitter feeds and using the Flipboard app I can bring all of the e-papers and magazines I want into one place for me to read, takes notes from, and...
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