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Breaking The Digital Spell

Author: Austin Gravley

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A podcast that explores the way technology and media shape our thoughts about God and our neighbor. Available wherever you get your podcasts, including YouTube. Visit bio.link.com/digitalspell for extra podcast resources or to support the podcast with a Buy Me A Coffee tip or subscription!
22 Episodes
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Political polarization and tribalism are on the rise, and social media appears to be the chief culprit. The ability to customize our social media feeds to only hear the voices we want to hear has lead us into echo chambers of increasingly one-sided viewpoints and unchecked misinformation - at least, that's what cultural wisdom suggests. But is that actually true? What actually happens when people step outside their "echo chambers"? Is information really the driving force behind the rise of political polarization, radical viewpoints, and extreme behavior on social media? Or, as secular sociologist Chris Bail and Christian philosopher James K.A. Smith both argue, are our behaviors and actions driven by something deeper than simply what we think - and how does the Gospel give the church an advantage in addressing polarization?——Buy Me a Coffee and keep Breaking the Digital Spell a high quality ad-free experience! Leave a one-time tip (without making an account) or unlock exclusive content with a $5 monthly membership at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell!Purchase a copy of Chris Bail's "Breaking the Social Media Prism" and check out the Polarization Lab!“Forget the Echo Chamber - Social Media is a Prism”  on FaithTech. “What Is Media Ecology? A Conversation with Austin Gravley” on YouTubeConnect with Austin and Breaking the Digital Spell* Twitter: @DigitalSpell and @gravley_austin* Instagram: @breakingthedigitalspell* YouTube: Breaking the Digital Spell* Facebook: BtDS Facebook Page* Email: breakingthedigitalspell@gmail.comSupport the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell) Support the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell)
When the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook knew that Instagram was toxic and harmful to teen girls, it lit up a firestorm greater than any of the other stories the Journal would break in it’s “Facebook Files” series. Nick Clegg, VP of Global Affairs, recently went on to CNN to discuss the Journal’s report and revealed that Instagram would be rolling out several features that will help curb Instagram’s harmful impact on teenage mental health. But will things like warning labels for harmful content or nudges to “take a break” actually make a difference? Is Facebook’s emphasis on problematic content a sincere attempt to fix the issue, or a diversion from the true source of the problem?Episodes like this are an example of the bonus content you can expect with a Buy Me a Coffee membership to Breaking the Digital Spell. For $5/mo, you can support the podcast and receive extra episodes, commentary, behind-the-scenes previews, and more. Media literacy is the biggest gaping hole in our discipleship, and every dollar of your support (even a one-time tip!) goes towards creating content and (one day) resources that will help close that gap!——Buy Me a Coffee and keep Breaking the Digital Spell a high quality ad-free experience! Leave a one-time tip (without making an account) or unlock exclusive content with a $5 monthly membership at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell!Purchase a copy of Chris Bail's "Breaking the Social Media Prism" “Forget the Echo Chamber - Social Media is a Prism”  on FaithTech. “What Is Media Ecology? A Conversation with Austin Gravley” on YouTubeConnect with Austin and Breaking the Digital Spell* Twitter: @DigitalSpell and @gravley_austin* Instagram: @breakingthedigitalspell* YouTube: Breaking the Digital Spell* Facebook: BtDS Facebook Page* Email: breakingthedigitalspell@gmail.comSupport the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell)Support the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell)
The Bible gives us a framework for understanding and navigating a world dominated by social media: Christians are to live as faithfully obedient exiles in the midst of Digital Babylon. This is the claim we explored on the prior episode of Breaking the Digital Spell, and we ended the episode open to pushback or objections to this idea. In this bonus episode, Austin sits down with Jacob Cates, executive pastor of Redeemer Christian Church, to talk through some good questions and objections to the “Digital Babylon” framework. Are there other analogies that are more helpful to us? How could the “Digital Babylon” framework be improved? But most importantly: If social media is truly akin to Digital Babylon, shouldn’t Christians try to come out of that empire and get off social completely?Clarification: many of Jacob's comments on individualism/identity come from Carl Trueman's "The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self." As it is with all the books we've featured on BtDS, quoting an author favorably on one point does not mean an endorsement of everything an author says or does elsewhere.——Buy Me a Coffee and keep Breaking the Digital Spell a high quality ad-free experience! Leave a one-time tip (without making an account) or unlock exclusive content with a $5 monthly membership at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell!Purchase a copy of Chris Bail's "Breaking the Social Media Prism" “Forget the Echo Chamber - Social Media is a Prism”  on FaithTech. “What Is Media Ecology? A Conversation with Austin Gravley” on YouTubeConnect with Austin and Breaking the Digital Spell* Twitter: @DigitalSpell and @gravley_austin* Instagram: @breakingthedigitalspell* YouTube: Breaking the Digital Spell* Facebook: BtDS Facebook Page* Email: breakingthedigitalspell@gmail.comSupport the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell)
The Babylonian exile is arguably the most important event in the history of the Old Testament. Israel's long descent into apostasy ends with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and the people of God are forcibly relocated to a pagan nation that they did not want to live in. But the Babylonian exile is more than just a date and time in history - it is a framework, used by New Testament writers and by Christians for millennia, that helps us understand what faithful obedience to God looks like in a sinful world.  In this episode of Breaking the Digital Spell, we look at the Babylonian Exile and the lives of Esther and Daniel and how these can help us understand what faithful obedience to God looks like not just in a sinful world, but a digital world - in Digital Babylon. How would applying this biblical framework to our social media world shape our understanding of the world that we currently live in and how we are called to live in it? Like the exiles who asked "how do we live in Babylon?", how do we live in Digital Babylon?Full episode manuscript: https://austingravley.me/2021/09/27/sa-3-on-esther-daniel-and-exile-in-digital-babylon-manuscript/Chapter DivisionsPart One: The Top of the Rabbit Hole - 1:10Part Two: Introducing Digital Babylon - 29:58Part Three: The Reality of Exile - 43:23Part Four: Engagement in Exile - 51:23Part Five: Providence in Exile - 1:16:58Tanak Order Reading ListThe introduction of "A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament", ed. by Miles V. Van Pelt."Dominion and Dynasty" by Stephen Dempster "Know How We Got Our Bible" by Ryan M. Reeves and Charles HillPurchase a copy of Chris Bail's "Breaking the Social Media Prism" Connect with Austin and Breaking the Digital Spell:Twitter: @gravley_austin and @DigitalSpellFacebook: BtDS Facebook PageEmail: breakingthedigitalspell@gmail.comSupport the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell)
Media literacy is the biggest gaping hole in our discipleship. We can feel its effects in our churches and our lives in the same way we can feel the effects of poor financial stewardship or failing marriages in our churches. Plenty of courses and programs exist for churches to address financial literacy and building healthy marriages, but what about for media literacy? The problem has festered for so long feels so overwhelming; it's hard to know where to start! In this episode of Breaking the Digital Spell, we look at one particular resource, Brett McCracken's "The Wisdom Pyramid", and report from the field of trying to fill the gap with some high school students - and offer some helpful perspective on why doing something imperfectly is better than doing nothing at all.Visit bio.link/digitalspell for links to episode manuscripts, social media accounts, and more! Keep the podcast ad-free by leaving a tip or becoming a supporter at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell! Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley.
When 2020 began, none of us factored in the possibility of a pandemic being the defining reality of our year. Our plans and predictions for the world were thrown into chaos, and our sense of "normal" upended overnight as we embraced a strong sense of uncertainty about our future. But how "normal" was our pre-pandemic "normal"? What exactly did Covid-19 change, and how lasting are those changes? How should we think about our confidence in our ability to plan, predict, and control or understand our future in a world armed with tools and techniques aimed at giving us confidence (or dread) about what tomorrow holds? Is there a better way forward?Visit bio.link/digitalspell for links to episode manuscripts, social media accounts, and more! Keep the podcast ad-free by leaving a tip or becoming a supporter at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell! Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley.Support the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell)
Our love for the technology and media in our lives has left us held under a spell that leads us to believe there is nothing worth seeing or experiencing beyond the screen in front of our face. On the season finale of Breaking the Digital Spell, we look at what it means to live our lives with the digital spell broken.Visit bio.link/digitalspell for links to episode manuscripts, social media accounts, and more! Keep the podcast ad-free by leaving a tip or becoming a supporter at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell! Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing/music by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley.Support the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell)
We live in a world defined by the Internet and the technology and media it has created. How does this change the way we think about God and the way we love our neighbor? “In Conclusions, Part Two”, we come full circle as the season begins to come to a close.Visit bio.link/digitalspell for links to episode manuscripts, social media accounts, and more! Keep the podcast ad-free by leaving a tip or becoming a supporter at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell! Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing/music by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley.
No matter how much we might use television or the Internet to escape the real world, the screen size and location always leaves a little bit of the real world in our peripheral vision. VR takes that peripheral vision away and replaces it will a full digital world that could offer us what our real life can’t. Visit bio.link/digitalspell for links to episode manuscripts, social media accounts, and more! Keep the podcast ad-free by leaving a tip or becoming a supporter at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell! Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing/music by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley.Support the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell)
Smartphones are incredible useful. They’re also incredibly distracting. They can help us manage our lives and distract us from our lives at the same time. How does this change the way we think about God?Visit bio.link/digitalspell for links to episode manuscripts, social media accounts, and more! Keep the podcast ad-free by leaving a tip or becoming a supporter at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell! Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing/music by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley.
Earlier this week we looked at social media's impact on us by offering us a limitless amount of content to consume. That content often gets nasty around election seasons - is there anything we can do to mitigate that nastiness and survive the toxicity of social media during election season? In this BONUS episode of Breaking The Digital Spell, we look at three practical ways to help us get through the ugliness of online politics during election season!For more information about Breaking the Digital Spell and for supplemental content related to each week's episode, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @DigitalSpell. Wherever you're listening to this, please consider subscribing and leaving a review, and sharing the episode with your friends!Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing/music by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley.Support the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell)
Social media promises the ability to consume an endless amount of content thanks to timelines, algorithms, and a whole host of other technological forces designed to keep us up-to-date, informed, and connected with everything going on in the world. There is more content uploaded each day than our minds can comprehend -just how much of this can we consume each day without experiencing any negative effects?Visit bio.link/digitalspell for links to episode manuscripts, social media accounts, and more! Keep the podcast ad-free by leaving a tip or becoming a supporter at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell! Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing/music by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley.Support the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell)
S1E8: Fire! Wire!

S1E8: Fire! Wire!

2018-10-0921:57

We've spent the past several episodes talking about the social and intellectual environments - the mediums - created by new technology and media. But what about the machines themselves? What role do they have to do with this? What about the digital text we now consume as a result of these machines? Is there a difference between reading digital text and reading printed text? If there is, what impact does that have on us - on society?Visit bio.link/digitalspell for links to episode manuscripts, social media accounts, and more! Keep the podcast ad-free by leaving a tip or becoming a supporter at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell! Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing/music by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley.Support the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell)
How did television and the Internet change the way we think about God? In this episode, we come to some conclusions, and one of these conclusions paves the way for the digitally driven world we live in today. Visit bio.link/digitalspell for links to episode manuscripts, social media accounts, and more! Keep the podcast ad-free by leaving a tip or becoming a supporter at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell! Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing/music by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley.
When the Internet became readily available and adopted in the 90s, we had no idea what changes it would bring to our world. In many ways, we are still trying to fully asses the scope of that change even to this present day as the Internet continues to evolve and change. Even in the early days of the Internet, however, one thing was clear: our idea of "community" would never be the same again. Visit bio.link/digitalspell for links to episode manuscripts, social media accounts, and more! Keep the podcast ad-free by leaving a tip or becoming a supporter at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell! Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing/music by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley.Support the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell)
In this BONUS episode of Breaking The Digital Spell, we take a look at some of the good things about television and some of the ways where advances in print/oral communication have made the world worse. We've been pretty harsh on television up to this point - now its time to give it some credit. For more information about Breaking the Digital Spell and for supplemental content related to each week's episode, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @DigitalSpell. Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing/music by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley.
"If the delivery is not the same, then the message, quite likely, is not the same. And if the context in which the message is experienced is altogether different from what it was in Jesus’ time, we may assume that its social and psychological meaning is different as well.” - Neil Postman. Visit bio.link/digitalspell for links to episode manuscripts, social media accounts, and more! Keep the podcast ad-free by leaving a tip or becoming a supporter at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell! Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing/music by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley.Support the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell)
How do you read a book? How do you watch television? How we engage a medium tells us what that medium values - and when it comes to television, it values something completely foreign to the world before it: discourse not through words, but through images. This episode was originally released on August 27th, 2018. Visit bio.link/digitalspell for links to episode manuscripts, social media accounts, and more! Keep the podcast ad-free by leaving a tip or becoming a supporter at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell! Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing/music by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley.
How have changes in technology and media changed the way we think about God? In order to answer this, we must go back to the beginning, and in the beginning...were words. This episode was originally released on September 3rd, 2018. Visit bio.link/digitalspell for links to episode manuscripts, social media accounts, and more! Keep the podcast ad-free by leaving a tip or becoming a supporter at buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell! Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing/music by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley.Support the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell)
Breaking the Digital Spell is not about convincing you to throw your MacBooks out the window, pack your things, and move to the middle of nowhere, free from any technological influence whatsoever. Nor is it about instilling a fear of the device you’re currently listening this into, as though there were some big, grand conspiracy to turn you into some mindless lemming. Instead, Breaking the Digital Spell is a podcast about asking questions about the technology and media we take for granted, and honestly assessing the full range of impact they have on our lives and theology. For more information about Breaking the Digital Spell and for supplemental content related to each week's episode, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @DigitalSpell. Produced by Austin Gravley and Andrew Akins. Hosted by Austin Gravley. Mixing/music by Andrew Akins. Additional vocal talent from Melissa Gravley. Support the show (http://buymeacoffee.com/digitalspell)
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