Reading Wars – Philip Yancey

Source: Reading Wars – Philip Yancey

Don’t you love the always candid Philip Yancey? I really do.

This is an article everybody should read. Please find below a few excerpts:

‘ I used to read three books a week. One year I devoted an evening each week to read all of Shakespeare’s plays (OK, due to interruptions it actually took me two years). Another year I read the major works of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. But I am reading many fewer books these days, and even fewer of the kinds of books that require hard work.

The internet and social media have trained my brain to read a paragraph or two, and then start looking around.  When I read an online article from The Atlantic or The New Yorker, after a few paragraphs I glance over at the slide bar to judge the article’s length. My mind strays, and I find myself clicking on the sidebars and the underlined links. Soon I’m over at reading Donald Trump’s latest Tweets and details of the latest terrorist attack, or perhaps checking tomorrow’s weather.’

‘Neuroscientists have an explanation for this phenomenon. When we learn something quick and new, we get a dopamine rush; functional-MRI brain scans show the brain’s pleasure centers lighting up. In a famous experiment, rats keep pressing a lever to get that dopamine rush, choosing it over food or sex. In humans, emails also satisfy that pleasure center, as do Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat.

Nicholas Carr’s book The Shallows analyzes the phenomenon, and its subtitle says it all: “What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains.” Carr spells out that most Americans, and young people especially, are showing a precipitous decline in the amount of time spent reading. He says, “Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” A 2016 Nielsen report calculates that the average American devotes more than ten hours per day to consuming media—including radio, TV, and all electronic devices. That constitutes 65 percent of waking hours, leaving little time for the much harder work of focused concentration on reading.’

‘I’ve concluded that a commitment to reading is an ongoing battle, somewhat like the battle against the seduction of internet pornography. We have to build a fortress with walls strong enough to withstand the temptations of that powerful dopamine rush while also providing shelter for an environment that allows deep reading to flourish. Christians especially need that sheltering space, for quiet meditation is one of the most important spiritual disciplines.’

‘Boredom, say the researchers, is when creativity happens. A wandering mind wanders into new, unexpected places. When I retire to the mountains and unplug for a few days, something magical takes place. I’ll go to bed puzzling over a roadblock in my writing, and the next morning wake up with the solution crystal-clear—something that never happens when I spend my spare time cruising social media and the internet.

I find that poetry helps. You can’t zoom through poetry; it forces you to slow down, think, concentrate, relish words and phrases. I now try to begin each day with a selection from George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, or R. S. Thomas.

For deep reading, I’m searching for an hour a day when mental energy is at a peak, not a scrap of time salvaged from other tasks. I put on headphones and listen to soothing music, shutting out distractions.’

‘We’re engaged in a war, and technology wields the heavy weapons. Rod Dreher published a bestseller called The Benedict Option, in which he urged people of faith to retreat behind monastic walls as the Benedictines did—after all, they preserved literacy and culture during one of the darkest eras of human history. I don’t completely agree with Dreher, though I’m convinced that the preservation of reading will require something akin to the Benedict option.

I’m still working on that fortress of habit, trying to resurrect the rich nourishment that reading has long provided for me.’

Stars in the Margins: Philip Yancey Quotes from ‘What’s So Amazing About Grace?’ | Musings of a Hardlining Moderate

Stars in the Margins: Philip Yancey Quotes from ‘What’s So Amazing About Grace?’ | Musings of a Hardlining Moderate.

This is a series of exceptionally well chosen quotes from What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey, one of the most authentic evangelical authors I know,

Thanks, Carson Clark.

Evangelical ≠ Neo-Fundamentalist (Miniblog #73) « Musings of a Hardlining Moderate

Evangelical ≠ Neo-Fundamentalist (Miniblog #73) « Musings of a Hardlining Moderate.

Indeed. I totally agree. And I like Philip Yancey too.

Voicu Bojan, un editor fericit

Voicu Bojan                                              Philip Yancey

Public mai jos, cu permisiunea lui Voicu, un text scris de el ‘la cald’ in timpul vizitei lui Yancey in Romania. (Sursa: AquaForte.)

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Philip Yancey la Cluj!

Ma simt ca un copil la care a venit Mos Craciun cu absolut toate jucariile de pe lista, nu cu lucruri enervante dar necesare cum ar fi ciorapi, manusi si pijamale. Ma simt de parca ar fi venit U2 în România. De parca mi-ar fi picat o mostenire din cer si mi-am luat masina visurilor. Prezenta lui Philip Yancey la Cluj intra cumva în logica absurda a harului. A ceva nespus de generos care se da din belsug, din partea casei. Nu ma pot abtine sa nu le multumesc pe aceasta cale organizatorilor: Big Impact si Noua Speranta. Nu stiu ce au facut si au dres, dar bine au facut ca l-au adus pe acest om în România, si la Cluj pe deasupra. Este, dupa parerea mea, cel mai interesant, mai viu si mai lucid autor crestin evanghelic contemporan. Continue reading “Voicu Bojan, un editor fericit”

Philip Yancey – Masura credintei

Călătoriile m-au adus în locuri unde creştinii înfruntă focul purificator al persecuţiilor, violenţelor şi molimelor. Această carte relatează zece întâmplări dramatice din locuri precum China, unde biserica creşte spectaculos, în ciuda unui guvern ateu; din Orientul Mijlociu, unde o biserică odinioară înfloritoare, în chiar inima acestei regiuni, acum abia mai rezistă; din Africa de Sud, unde o biserică multicoloră se caută pe sine printre rămăşiţele unui trecut rasist. Continue reading “Philip Yancey – Masura credintei”

Surveying the Wondrous Cross

El Greco – Christ Carying the Cross

Google the words atonement and emergent church together, and your computer screen will soon heat up a few degrees. A lively (and not always civilized) debate has broken out among those who defend classical theories of the Atonement and those who see them as some variation of the caricature Dorothy Sayers drew 60 years ago:

God wanted to damn everybody, but his vindictive sadism was sated by the crucifixion of his own Son, who was quite innocent, and, therefore, a particularly attractive victim. He now only damns people who don’t follow Christ or who have never heard of him.

Since Jesus’ death nearly 2,000 years ago, theologians such as Origen, Anselm of Canterbury, Peter Abelard, and John Calvin have proposed ways of understanding it: as a Ransom paid to Satan, a Satisfaction required by God, a Moral Influence for humanity, a Penal Substitution for the punishment due to humankind. Some of these theories, referencing animal sacrifices and God’s wrath, can make for a hard sell for many in modern

Interested? Read more HERE.

Zvon – Philip Yancey in Romania?


Am aflat recent că este posibil ca autorul evanghelic Philip Yancey, care este şi redactor la Christianity Today, să viziteze România în luna aprilie a acestui an.

Dacă această informaţie este adevărată, în mod straniu, vestea este ţinută secretă de cei care organizează această vizită. Ştie cineva câte ceva, cât de cât mai clar, în legătură cu acest subiect?

Continue reading “Zvon – Philip Yancey in Romania?”