While probably idiosyncratic and not very comprehensive, this seemed like a good day to reflect on some of the blessings God's brought my way through the internet. Though I love a good internet-bashing session, it remains an incredible tool by which a discerning Christian can gain many good things. In no certain order, here are things the internet gave in 2018 for which I remain grateful.
- Access to good journalism - Truth remains ever in short supply, which makes me glad for those who are laboring hard to research and report important stories with genuine journalistic integrity. I'm grateful for World magazine, who continues to shine an unpopular light on the church's problems. I'm grateful for the great reporters at the Indy Star who worked to uncover the abuses by Larry Nassar as well as the cover up. There are many more good reporters, they aren't hard to find and we should support them when we do.
- Podcasts - From our own 3GT and the Jerusalem Chamber to the ability to listen to lots of my friends on reformedvoice, podcasts have helped me make use of a lot of driving and walking time. Within the Christian sphere, Pastors' Talk (Mark Dever & Jonathan Leman), Mortification of Spin, and Al Mohler's take on the news have all been encouraging listening. In the broader podcasting world, S-Town remains a revelation (warning: strong language), Serial remains unrivaled for their storytelling ability, EconTalk never fails to simultaneously educate me and humble my intellect, and This American Life is consistently excellent.
- Disney's Circle and Accountable 2 U software - Protecting ourselves and our children from the dangers of the internet is a never ending battle. We've found that using Disney's Circle to monitor and control all the internet usage on our router and using Accountable2U to monitor all our phones and mobile devices has helped both the adults and kids in our home.
- Apps! - Pocket helps organize my internet reading habits. I love having the Psalms to sing everywhere I go. Evernote is slowly becoming a good friend. It's older but librarything has done a great job for years helping organize my library. Being able to borrow books from my local library through hoopla has come in handy. And the ESV app looks good and works well.
- Getting to know Tyler Trent - I live in West Lafayette, home of Purdue University. Yesterday, a young man named Tyler Trent died at 20 years old. He was a Christian, full of faith, who gained national recognition by being a Purdue superfan and honorary captain of the football team. His story was followed and told by millions over the past few months, including many who were forced to acknowledge the role Jesus played in Tyler's life. You can read a short reflection by Indy Star's Gregg Doyel here. Tyler's presence on Twitter and friendship with our football team was genuinely moving and honoring to Jesus. Last night David Blough, the graduating quarterback, tweeted "In John 11:25-26, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life, He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” My comfort today is knowing Tyler believed this."
What about you? Even though the list of things we hate about the internet is probably much longer, what would you add to the list of things we can be grateful for?