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Redeeming Productivity

What the internet is doing to your soul

Published 3 months ago • 6 min read

Issue #140

Your weekly roundup of insights and resources to help you become a more productive Christian.

Read on the Web

In Today’s Issue:

  • What the internet is doing to your soul
  • Writing Like a Christian
  • Solving the Productivity Paradox
  • The Best Calendar App
  • Quote: The Christian Life as Work of Art

Dear steward,

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm sending this week's issue a day early since, hopefully, you won't be checking your email during the holiday tomorrow.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how much time I spend on the internet.

Because, let's face it, we are more online than ever.

A recent survey found that 85% of US adults are online daily. And when it comes to youth, those 13–17, a full 95% say they use social media "almost constantly."

And people are rightly starting to wonder what this level of exposure is doing to us.

Indeed, the addictiveness of our internet-connected devices presents a productivity problem. Who among us hasn't cringed after glancing at their weekly screen time report?

I spent 6 hours on my phone yesterday? That can't be right. Can it?

We know we should be doing many other things with the time the Lord has given us, but we keep returning to the broken cisterns of our devices for another draught of dopamine that never really satisfies.

But it's more than just an issue of time management.

It's not just that social media wastes our time; it's actually changing us.

Reformed Youth Ministries put together a ​summary of the US Surgeon General's 2023 Report​ on the impact of social media on youth mental health that captures some of the most alarming findings.

The numbers are less pronounced, but still equally concerning when it comes to adult mental health and social media.

But aside from time management and mental health, the most critical question—and it is not unrelated to the others, mind you—is how the internet is changing our souls.

And it's not just about the content we view online that's shaping us. It's the fact that our most basic form of contact with the world has shifted from embodied physical presence to mediated digital environments.

I've been pondering how the internet shapes our souls since reading Digital Liturgies: Rediscovering Christian Wisdom in an Online Age by Samuel D. James last month.

A few issues ago, I shared a brief recommendation for the book. But I decided to dive deeper into what the internet is doing to our souls and what we should do about it in ​this week's video​.


FREE WORKSHOP EVENT 🗓️

Plan Your 2024 for the Glory of God

Start the new year with a plan.

I’m hosting a free webinar, on December 15th. In this workshop, I'll walk you through a step-by-step process for crafting a Christ-honoring 2024:

  1. Get clarity on your priorities
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The event is free, but you must register to attend (registrants will also be sent the recording afterwards).

Registration filled up the last two times we did this, so we’ve expanded capacity to 1,000 spots. But it’s already starting to fill up. So, if you’re interested in coming, don’t wait to register!


THE ROUNDUP 🔗

The best links I found this week

Is Work Good? (3 mins)

Thomas Myrick / Ligonier

The fall changed our experience of work. It brought a sense of toil and a loss of productivity, but it didn’t fundamentally change the character of work itself. Have you ever wondered why a task can be of seemingly infinite delight to you when all the gears are turning in the right direction, but how that same exact task can be absolute drudgery on frustrated days?

Solving the Productivity Paradox (5 mins)

Cal Newport / The New Yorker

Newport has some interesting insights into a change in emphasis we are seeing in productivity software for knowledge workers.

“During the past two decades or so—a period of rapid technology innovation, which produced laptops, smartphones, ubiquitous cloud computing, and Google—American productivity growth has suffered a sustained slowdown. We gained access to an armada of supercharged workplace tools, and yet we’re not getting much more done.”

The Best Calendar App for iPhone: Fantastical (22 mins)

Josh Ginter / The Sweet Setup

This is a really deep look at one of my favorite apps, Fantastical. I’ve been using it for years and it’s one of my most recommended apps for Apple users. This guide will show you what makes it so great.

Order and Beauty: A Little Theology of Christian Writing (7 mins)

Greg Morse / Desiring God

A lovely reflection on what makes for good Christian writing.

Handcrafted writing, beautiful writing that adorns God’s wisdom, weighs and studies, arranges with great care, and seeks out words of delight and writes words of truth uprightly.

A BOOK I'M READING 📚

True Spirituality by Francis Schaeffer

I've been spending part of my morning routine with Francis Schaeffer these past few weeks. Specifically, I've been reading his classic book, True Spirituality.

It's been having a profound impact on me. And I want to commend it to you. But I fear that no matter how I describe it, I won't do it justice. Since what he talks about is such rudimentary Christian doctrine, I worry that precisely those of us who need it most might think it too basic.

He talks about the need to die to self, what it means to be alive in Christ, and how this leads to true worship and spiritual unity. In this regard, it is doctrinally basic. But that's the real power of the book. It's a refreshing return to the fundamentals, emphasizing how these truths should change our day-to-day lives.

Hearing the story about why Schaeffer wrote it drew me to take this book off the shelf and finally read it. It is the fruit of a crisis of faith in his own life. Francis and his wife Edith were running the L'Abri community in Switzerland, which served as a forum for discussing philosophy and Christianity, especially with questioning youth. But even amid his evangelistic efforts, he saw a concerning coldness in himself and in many other seasoned believers. How was it that those who held to correct doctrine weren't having their lives more affected by those truths? Where was the supernatural life transformation promised in Scripture and which they experienced early on in their walk of faith?

Schaeffer sought to find what a genuinely spiritual life should look like, from whence it springs, and how to cultivate it daily. And his exploration drove him into a deep study of the Christian life from the Scriptures that eventually became this book.

I trust reading True Spirituality will reinvigorate your faith even as it has mine.

WHAT'S NEW ✨

On Redeeming Productivity

What social media does to your soul | Digital Liturgies Book Review (17 mins)

In Digital Liturgies: Rediscovering Christian Wisdom in an Online Age Samuel D. James explores how the connected internet shapes not just our minds but, more importantly, our hearts.

In this video I share some of my favorite insights from the book and seek to provide some practical guidance on what to do with this information.

🖋

A DOSE OF WISDOM

Quote of the Week

No work of art is more important than the Christian's life, and every Christian is called to be an artist in this sense... The Christian's life is to be a thing of truth and also a thing of beauty in the midst of a lost and despairing world.

Francis Schaeffer


FINAL WORD 👋

Thanks for reading!

That's all for this week.

For His glory,

Reagan Rose

P.S. I'd love to hear from you. Just hit reply to let me know what you thought of this week's newsletter, share link ideas for future issues, or just say hello!


Reagan Rose

I talk about personal productivity from a Christian perspective. Creator of ​Redeeming Productivity​.


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by Reagan Rose

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