Daily Archives: 19 Nov 2017
A decade ago I bought my first smartphone, a clunky little BlackBerry 8830 that came in a sleek black leather sheath. I loved that phone. I loved the way it effortlessly slid in and out of its case, loved the soft purr it emitted when an email came in, loved the silent whoosh of its trackball as I played Brick Breaker on the subway and the feel of its baby keys clicking under my fat thumbs. It was the world in my hands, and when I had to turn it off, I felt anxious and alone.
Like most relationships we plunge into with hearts aflutter, our love affair with digital technology promised us the world: more friends, money and democracy! Free music, news and same-day shipping of paper towels! A laugh a minute, and a constant party at our fingertips.
Many of us bought into the fantasy that digital made everything better. We surrendered to this idea, and mistook our dependence for romance, until it was too late.
Ten years after the iPhone first swept us off our feet, the growing mistrust of computers in both our personal lives and the greater society we live in is inescapable. This publishing season is flush with books raising alarms about digital technology’s pernicious effects on our lives: what smartphones are doing to our children; how Facebook and Twitter are eroding our democratic institutions; and the economic effects of tech monopolies.
Thankfully, the analog world is still here, and not only is it surviving but, in many cases, it is thriving. Sales of old-fashioned print books are up for the third year in a row, according to the Association of American Publishers, while ebook sales have been declining. Independent bookstores have been steadily expanding for several years. Vinyl records have witnessed a decade-long boom in popularity (more than 200,000 newly pressed records are sold each week in the United States), while sales of instant-film cameras, paper notebooks, board games and Broadway tickets are all growing again.
Good news. Read the rest.
Of the six great Continental Reformers,—Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, Bullinger, Calvin, and Beza,—Beza was the most finished gentleman, according to the highest standard of his time. He was not lacking in energy, nor was he always mild. But he was able to hold court with courtiers, be a wit with wits, and show classical learning equal to that of the best scholars of his age. Yet with him the means were only valued because they reached an end, and the great end he had ever in mind was the conservation of the Reformed Church of Geneva and France.
His public life was an extraordinary one. Like the Apostle Paul he could say that he had been “in journeyings often, in perils of rivers, in perils of robbers, in perils from my own countrymen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils among false brethren; in labor and travail, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things that are without, there is that which presseth upon me daily, anxiety for all the churches” (2 Cor. 11:26–28). It was indeed a brilliant service which this versatile man rendered. Under his watchful care the city of Geneva enjoyed peace and prosperity, the Academy flourished and its students went everywhere preaching the Word, while the Reformed Church of France was built up by him. Calvin lived again and in some respects lived a bolder life in his pupil and friend.*
*Philip Schaff and David Schley Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 8 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910), 870–871.
A former Oklahoma state senator has pleaded guilty to a child sex trafficking charge, The Oklahoman reported Saturday.
Former state Sen. Ralph Shortey, a Republican, had been accused of offering to pay a 17-year-old boy for “‘sexual’ stuff” earlier this year. Federal prosecutors will drop three additional child pornography charges against him in exchange for his guilty plea.
“It is in my best interest and in the best interest of my family,” the former state senator wrote in a plea deal paperwork signed this week, according to the Oklahoman.
By pleading guilty, Shortey is hoping to receive a lighter sentence. Child sex trafficking carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, and a maximum sentence of life in prison. U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti will sentence Shortey next year.
Shortey was first elected to the Oklahoma state Senate in 2010. He resigned from his office on March 22, two weeks after being found in a motel room with a 17-year-old boy.
Shortey and the victim had first met on Craigslist a year earlier. According to the Oklahoman, the two carried on conversations via the messaging app Kik before going to the motel.