If you don’t feel distracted by the entertainment, information glut, and noise of the world today, I think I speak for everyone when I say: are you an alien?
Jokes aside, it’s nearly impossible to focus these days. More than that, it’s nearly impossible to focus on the things that matter most. It’s especially difficult to focus on God and his word.
John Starke pointed out these lectures on that very issue on twitter from two thinkers who I greatly admire: James K.A. Smith and Alan Jacobs.
Smith has made his reputation in popular theology with his writing on how habit (which he calls “liturgy”) shapes and forms the heart (and our loves). In short, to borrow the title from his most famous book, “you are what you love.” Alan Jacobs is an excellent writer and one of the most reflective and intentional thinkers of our day. His recent book “Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader’s Guide to a More Tranquil Mind” is an incredible gift to the church.
I hope you find these lectures interesting and a blessing in your life. Here’s the description from the event where the lectures were given:
For this summertime retreat we’ll dig into how our technological environment—what Nicholas Carr has called our “glass cage”—has qualitatively changed our capacity for attention. Especially since the habits of attention, contemplation, and introspection are so crucial to the Christian life, and in many ways one of the great gifts of Christianity to the West.
What does a “liturgical audit” of our technological habits reveal? What spiritual insights emerge from an analysis of distraction? We’ll take up all of this (and more) in the blissfully cellphone free environs of the Frio River Canyon.