Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman both experts in technology co-wrote the book Networked: The New Social Operating System. Lee Rainie, a graduate of Harvard University and has a master’s degree in political science from Long Island University, is the director of internet and technology at the Pew Research Center. Barry Wellman, researches social network theories and virtual communities. “He directs NetLab, is the S.D. Clark Professor at the Department of Sociology, is a member of the Cities Centre, and the Knowledge Media Design Institute, and is a cross-appointed member of the Faculty of Information”. Networked was written to the general public and those interested in technological advances and connectivity over the internet.

Content and Methodology

Networked is divided into three sections: The Triple Revolution, How the Networked Individualism Works, and How to Operate in a Networked World, Now and in the Future.

The Triple Revolution pertained to the social media revolution, the internet revolution, and the mobile revolution. These three revolutions led to more advances in society and changes in the American culture to implement the use of ICT’s and create more individualism online. Individualism was the reoccurring theme throughout Networked. Rainie and Wellman have a positive outlook on the advancements in technology and reconsider the thought of isolation. Instead of seeing a person on his or her phone as aloof, one “can be physically in one place while their social attention and communication focus is elsewhere.. Called ‘absent presence’”. The authors argue that the emerging opportunities to create individualism in the virtual world has also created more opportunities for individuals to expand connections through common interests.

Although the technological world has advanced and increased the individual’s cultural experiences and broaden the online experience, personal relationships have been neglected and altered. The Networked individualism looks at five aspects of a person’s life: relationships, families, work, creators, and information. Families are able to easily access one another at anytime of day almost anywhere, but now families are potentially identified as core networks. Due to the shift in culture from door-to-door (a network system built in the neighborhood) to person-to-person contacts (a broad range of networks created from the technological advances), family members are spending more time on a screen than in the present. Balancing relationships is now hard to do with the new technology, but balance is possible.

The last section, How to Operate in a Networked World, Now and in the Future, focuses on the warnings of technology. The warning guidelines are helpful reminders to to be more conscientious of the existing relationships and balance life on and off line. Some of the warnings include: controlling your social media to manage your reputation, manage time well on social media (have a purpose to be online.) , do not overshare (oversharing enforces the feeling of zero privacy.), and be aware of the invisible audience (there are sinister people online, business competitors, and others who want to know many things about the individual. Although these audience members have gathered plenty of data to target the individual, he or she should not overshare and stay conscious of how social media is used.). The coauthors also highlighted six literacies to help the individual become more aware, nimble, and focused on oneself and his or her online usage in the ever changing culture today.


Networked provided great insight on personal identity on technology. However, Rainie and Wellman also discussed the negative effects technology has on family structures and relationships today. Networked mainly focused on the positive effects and briefly looked at the negative effects. The chapter Networked Creators resonated with me well. This chapter reflected me and the American culture’s perception of social media to express one’s self, connecting with a community, and some individuals’ hope to gain glory. While the individual creates his or her own network, filtering information is equally important. Through the use of statistics, the coauthors were able to articulate the accelerated shift in the the technology and America’s culture. They brought up many points to support and awaken the individual to these changes. Technology will not be going away anytime soon, one should take the opportunity to learn about the future and how to grow with technology in a healthy way, rather than allowing technology to control everyday life.

Work Cited

“Barry Wellman.” NetLab, WordPress,

Suh, Michael. “Lee Rainie.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 24 Jan. 2015,


The Shallows Book Review


Nicholas Carr is a journalist, blogger, and author of books and articles about technology and today’s culture. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a Masters from Harvard University in English, American Literature, and Language. When Carr was first starting his career, he became the editor of the Harvard Business Review and then joined “the steering board of the World Economic Forum’s cloud computing project” (Nicholas Carr).

Carr wrote several books about technology including The Shallow, to educate the public interested in the advancements in technology and how culture and human behavior has adapted to these changes. Through the combination of Carr’s personal experience and selective citation of scientific data, he created The Shallows, an argumentative paper about the importance to understand, “a medium’s content matters less than the medium itself in influencing how we think and act. As our window onto the world, and ourselves, a popular medium molds what we see and how we see it—and eventually, if we use it enough, it changes who we are, as individuals and as a society” (page 3).


Nicholas Carr took another approach at exploring the evolution of publicizing information, language, and how new technologies has impacted today’s culture. Carr argues that the medium is the message and that the brain is not determined by technology, but the internet has a strong impact on the brain and society. The Shallows begin by reflecting on Marshal MacLuhan’s prophesies about technology in the 1960’s. MacLuhan first stated that the medium is the message and Carr would agree. From radio to color television, technology has shaped the American culture. Throughout this book, Carr explains the pros and cons to technology and the implications can be drawn from each chapter. The chapter “Hal and Me” raises a common fear among Americans—that robots will take jobs away and eventually obliterate the human race. Although this is a common fear in America, some would argue that this will not happen for centuries down the line or at all.

MacLuhan, an author from the 1960’s, would say, “The mediums content matters less than the medium itself in influencing how we think and act” (page 3). This statement supports Carr’s claim that technology is just a tool, but the brain is in control. Through Nietzsche, Freud, William James, and Merzenich studies on the brain, Carr concluded that the brain is not plastic, but elastic.

Throughout time, the medium of messages has changed, which greatly influenced society. Many cultures used oral language before advancing to written languages on papyrus and stone tablet. This lead to correct grammar and eventually the creation of the television, radio, and phonograph. Now, there is two-way communication called the internet. The internet is not only transmitting messages to the general public, but the public can input messages back. The internet has changed society significantly and tricks people into thinking that they can multitask. Carr would infer that this idea of multitasking leads to more distractions and searching the internet can best be related to a jet skier, who never gets into the water to explore because they skim over information. The rise in Taylorism led to common act of skimming over information and the creation of google search. The internet, google search, and computers allowed the brain to have an external hard-drive on hand, so there is no need to do extensive research or the brain to hold large amount of information.


Although The Shallows argues the brain is elastic and not determined by technology, it is shaped by the technological advances in society. I would agree with Nichols Carr, that the brain is not dependent on technology, but through the advances in society there is less need to store information within one’s brain. Rather, an external hard-drive like the internet has accommodated people to search new information almost simultaneously at a rapid pace, not requiring them to fully be immersed into a topic. The technological advances that have been made in society are great, but they can hinder an individual’s ability to fully grasp concepts without being distracted.

Work Cited

“Nicholas Carr.” Nicholas Carr, Word Press,

Who’s In Charge? Book Review


Although Gazzaniga believes in evolution, he puts into question if people have free will in Who’s In Charge? In relation to the science of the brain. Michael S. Gazzaniga, the author of Who’s In Charge?, is a neuroscientist who is very in-tune with his passions and a part of many elite organizations.  He is director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, the president of the Cognitive Neuroscience Institution, the founding director of the MacArthur Foundation’s Law and Neuroscience Project, and a member of many other organizations. Gazzaniga wrote, “I will maintain that the mind, which is somehow generated by the physical processes of the brain, constrains the brain” (Gazzaniga, 4). His book answers the tough questions of how people make decisions, why people behave the way they do, and if people actually have free will and to what extent.


Who’s In Charge? explains theories of brain development to gain a better understanding of the complexity of the human mind and brain. These theories led to Gazzaniga’s conclusion of the brain’s function and the extent of free will a person has. Throughout time, processes of the brain developed and ideas such as equipotentiality, neural specificity, and activity dependent processes emerged. Gazzaniga knows that even though the brain has many different parts, each part is dependent of the other to function as a whole. He goes on to state that interconnectivity of neuronal functions varies from person to person. Throughout the book, Gazzaniga gives empirical data and shares case studies to argue that, “Years of split brain research have made clear to us that the brain is not an all purpose computing device, but a device made up of an enormous number of serially wires specialty circuits, all running in parallel and distributed across the brain to make those better decisions” (69). He supports this quote by explaining that a person’s actions can not be predicted because of the chaos theory (117).

Gazzaniga argues that consciousness, which comes from the mind, is an illusion (75). Later, he states that free will does not emerge from the brain, yet the mind comes from the brain. “Responsibility and freedom are found… in the space between the brains, in the interactions between people” (137). Therefore, free will is an illusion as well and morality, choices, and responsibility comes from outside source. In the chapter of the Social Mind, Gazzaniga mentions, “Neurons that fire together, wire together” but somethings are innate (13). The five cognitive abilities, moral modules, and mirror neurons are all examples of influences of outside sources to create the idea of free will.


Gazzaniga is a neuroscientist who believes in evolution and explained theories with extremely gruesome stories like the man who altered monkey’s brains. In the beginning, I felt skeptical of this book, but kept an open-mind due to his credentials. Through the many stories Gazzaniga shared, he took the reader through many adventures to understand their own mind and brain. As the book progressed he added ideas that supported his claim such as the chapter of the social mind. Gazzaniga built on his data, that consciousness comes from the mind and is an illusion. The mind comes from the brain, but free will does not. Therefore, free will is also an illusion because it is not an innate context (193). I did not fully grasp this concept until putting it in parallel with Freedom of a Christian. Martin Luther also rejects the idea of absolute free will, even though Christians are free from the law through Christ. Overall, the book revealed many insights on how the mind and brain work in relation to one another, but also how free will and responsibility comes from social interactions.

Bartling Lecture on The War on Poverty


On November 15, 2017, John Bouman spoke at the Bartling lecture. Bouman is a lawyer and the founder of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law in Illinois. His educational lecture focused on the prevention of poverty and reflected on the history of The War on Poverty. In 1962, Michael Harent wrote a book called, The Other American, which stated that 22% of the American population was in poverty in 1959. That is roughly every one in five people in America. This was a shock to many Americans, including presidents Kennedy and Johnson. The War on Poverty all began during the Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. President Johnson spoke to Shriver, who ran The Peace Core at the time, and wanted him to run The War on Poverty as well. Eventually, he ran became “The President of Poverty”. Shriver and other political leaders had specific requirements in order for this War on Poverty to be successful. This included: 1. the knowledge that fighting poverty does not mean America needs a spending spree; 2. The key stakeholders are to bring hope and opportunity, not free handouts; 3. People will receive equity; 4. This war will help everyone, not just the poor.

Shriver supported the idea that all people, even the poor, have access to legal services. This created a legal reform around the time of President Nixon. In the 1990’s the government disputed if they should continue their funding of legal services. After six months of debating and stalling the policy work, the government decided to continue legal services. After this event, Bouman left Legal Services and founded Shriver Center. Through the rapidly growing business and impact the Shriver Center has had, lawyers can continue to humbly work with community leaders by advocating for the poor and working on policies to uplift those in poverty in America. Bouman ended with the statistic that poverty in America has decreased to 12.7%, but this does not mean that the government is done fighting and that Americans should ignore these concerns.



Bouman discussed the effects poverty has on children and the stress it brings on brain development. Children do not have a choice of what social class they are born into, which influences their future as well. A child that is born into deep poverty can experience large amounts of trauma and stress, due to the overwhelming financial burden their parents may experience. Bouman stated that the stress is released by hormones that effect the developing brain. The Honors class talked about the brain and the reaction the body has to specific stimuli in relation to the brain and mind.


I liked the this lecture. I was not expecting it to be focused on the historical standpoint of a lawyer and the history of his company intertwining with the history relating to the previous presidency. Knowing this new information has given me a different perspective on the impact the government and influential people in America have to fight poverty. Bouman addressed in his lecture that poverty will not be eliminated, but it can be reduced significantly. He proved that history has been a reliable source to show Americans the impacts we have to reduce Poverty and make a difference in our economy.

Luther Play 10/27/17


        From October 26-29, 2017, Concordia University presented the play Luther written by John Osborne.  The play was performed in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. Luther focuses on the Martin Luther becoming a monk and being a stakeholder in the Protestant Reformation. Luther does not solely focus on his traditional story. The play also focuses on the fatherly relationships in his life, even though it does not completely align with his original story. However, Luther covers his life from the beginning, his life in the monastery, the Peasant’s Revolt, and ends on him beginning his life with his wife Katherine Von Bora.


        The Honors class learned about building communities and what different groups of people look like when gathered together. The play showed many dynamics of groups. Although Luther was not a group, he was a leader and an individual reformer in the crowd of Catholic believers who created a new group. The monks were also a crowd of people within the monastery and the peasants during the revolt who became a mob. All of these groups experienced isolation, whether social from the monks being in the monastery, educational with the peasants being restricted from a higher education, or religious when the peasants did not understand the gospel and needed someone to teach them the Word.


        I attended Luther on Friday, October 27, 2017. The play was fabulous! I did think it went on for a long time, but it contained humorous jokes to keep the play somewhat light-hearted. The cast did a fantastic job performing, keeping in character, and transitioning between scenes. Alex Johnson did a great job acting as Luther. The entire cast filled their roles well and made me feel that it was their true identity. Although I cannot say Luther is my favorite play, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it is in my top three.

Reformation Reformed 10-19-17

On October 19, 2017, Concordia’s art department opened their show about the 500 Year anniversary titled Reformed Reformation. Professor Keith Williams, the host of this show, spoke at the art gallery and acknowledged Cate Vermeland for coming up with the theme that “this gallery should look forward and see what Reformation means to people in the next 500 years.” Artwork was shipped in from across the United States to show Concordia the, “natures of what the church has valued going forward in life, in the world around us, in justice issues, and in being stewards of the planet” (Williams).


Currently, the Honors class is doing a study of rituals and symbols. The Reformation gallery was filled with many symbols, but Stop Killing Us Here I Sell by Chris Roth intrigued me the most. Here I Sell was a collage of Martin Luther containing images of Luther merchandise and European currency. The items used portray and affirm Luther’s position not only as a major reformer, but also a mascot and a symbol in the Lutheran church. The other image of protestors ties the past with the present and subtly suggests to the audience to look to the future. Stop Killing us is an image of protesters holding a sign labeled, “stop killing us.” This was a message projected to the Chicago Police Department in an effort to reform the corrupted city of Chicago. Both pictures reinforce the constant and necessary reform the church, society, and individuals are participating in today.


I enjoyed the art gallery. It had many beautiful symbols that reminds Lutherans of their faith. Three pieces I enjoyed, in particular, was the beautiful banner, the collage of Martin Luther and protests due to the death Laquan McDonald, and the picture of the burning cement block. The Quilted Banner: Luther Rose, by Cecil Margaret Lewis, was originally made to be in the Reformation service, but it’s beauty was so magnificent, it was presented in the at the show as well. The Burning Block: “I Am Who I Am” brings in the surreal nature by presenting a cement block on fire. The irony of this image is almost disturbing. It perfectly portrays the tensions America faces today and the infinite powers and abilities God has to do what He pleases. It also represents how in this time of tension and modernity, God reaches us where we are at in the possibly most absurd ways to show us the Gospel.

Homecoming Weekend 2017


On Saturday September 30, 2017, The Concordia Saint Paul Golden Bears played Mankato State University. Football is a good gathering for students at Concordia, but at Homecoming weekend all the bleachers were filled with students and families to celebrate the festivities. Before the game, the National Anthem played. Everyone stood respectfully in silence facing the flag. During the anthem, one player, number 4, from the opposing team started beating his chest and pointed one finger in the air. Then he put his hands in a praying position when the song sang, “The land of the free and the home of the brave.” It was cool to see the players get excited and prepare for the big game. Many people came to Homecoming weekend to help celebrate and join in on the excitement. My father went to Concordia as a student and visits for this special event to gather with his friends. Before the game at 9 am, all his friend started the annual tailgating party. My dad and I joined later and conversed with everyone until 1:30pm. Concordia ended up losing this year, but the loss did not ruin the entertainment and good food the carnival provided.



The Honors class is learning about rituals. There were many rituals at the football game and the carnival. Some rituals include: the tailgating party, the National Anthem, and getting corn on the cob every year. At the carnival, my dad, his friends, and their children all get together to take an annual picture of the Banchees, the name of my dad’s friend group, and their family. This small event is also a reminder of the interconnected world Concordia people live in, bringing together generations of family members to create a community.



Homecoming weekend was so much fun. This year I talked to more people at the tailgating party and enjoyed meeting up with old friends. Although Concordia lost, the game was good to watch and even better to socialize at. I was so happy to play carnival games, win free Concordia gear, and eat the annual corn, cheese curds, and wings!

Book of the Year: A Good Time for Truth: Race in Minnesota 9-20-17


On September 20, 2017, Sung Yung Shin was the key speaker for Concordia’s book of the year: A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota by Sung Yung Shin. Sung Yung Shin’s main points were to address the effect of colonialism in global history, militarism, mass genocide and incarceration rates, and the effects of racism on education. Yung looked at the White America and White Minnesota that Midwesterners live in and sought to hear the voices of the minorities. She wrote about her personal experiences, her interactions with racism, and the overwhelming presence of racism in America today. She realised that there was not enough literature on the race that had a personal connection to her. After writing A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, Sung Yung Shin has hoped her audience would learn from, grow, and appreciate others for their differences to build a better world.



Last semester, Honors focused on the topic “Hearing the voices of the marginalized.” Shin capitalized on some main points that directly aligned with last semester’s topic. Honors read a book called, The New Jim Crow. This book talked about the alarming number of people in the prison system and how racially corrupt America is. Shin discussed some statistics that correlated with The New Jim Crow. She stated that Americans are ten times more likely to be killed with a gun and that twenty-five percent of Americans are incarcerated. These devastating facts weigh on America and remind many of the necessary change towards a more united America.



Sung Yung Shin was a more informal speaker. She used stereotypical passive aggressive jokes to draw her audience and remain relatable. Although I liked her style of speaking, I could not follow all of her main points. Her speech summarized our last semester in Honors. One point Shin made was, “Racism is invented to be dismantled. It is not a law of Physics.” It was a good reminder of everything we learned, which is that we need to continue to advocate for, support, and fight with our brothers and sisters in Christ to overcome the hatred and prominent racism in our society.

Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious


David Dark’s book, Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious, uses pop culture, anecdotal evidence, and today’s technology as a conversation piece to know what it means to be religious and how one uses religion in all facets of life. Dark was an English teacher and after receiving his doctorate, he became an assistant professor of Religion and the Arts in the College of Theology at Belmont University. He also teaches at the Tennessee Prison for Women. After writing three other theological books, Dark wrote Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious as a response to a friend who said, “No one is more religious than me.” Dark challenges his Christian audience to recognize religion in every part of life, enable readers to take action and subtly witness to others through routine, and use religion as a tool to start conversation and find commonality, rather than division.



Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious is split up into two parts consisting of an introduction and nine chapters. The introduction outlined the book and gave a concise summary of his book, explaining that a person should live their life with Christ in all areas of his or her life. The other nine chapters divide his summary into sections by redefining what it means to be religious throughout his book. Dark explains that being religious should not be a word that makes Christians feel bad about themselves or should cause a person to create division and cause them to compartmentalize their faith into sections because they attend church once a month, but also do other non-religious activities. Dark challenges the reader to recognize that Christians should live lives that emulate Christ in every area of life, “We’re always in the thick of it, this living fact of what our human hands have wrought under the dictation of what’s actually going on in our human hearts and minds. Our real sense of what’s really sacred is regularly on display” (18). Dark also mentions that people should, “choose our ancestors carefully” because they drive a person and shape them to do what they want (59). In the second half of the book, chapters five through nine, Dark focuses on Christian’s role in society and the connectivity through relationships and technology. He emphasizes on the future generations, the responsibility they hold to live in a world of technology, and remind them to get off of their devices that alter the world and to form personal relationships in reality instead.



At the very beginning of summer, I read the introduction and felt encouraged from this book to share a devotion, based on the book, to campers about judgement and about pancakes and waffles––how each food is like our life,, and the syrup is like our faith. We choose whether we will be waffles or pancakes and where God will be in our lives like syrup being compartmentalized in waffles. Dark said in his introduction, “When I label people, I no longer have to deal with them thoughtfully. I no longer have to feel overwhelmed by their complexity… They’ve been neutralized” (13). People fear being identified as religious, but a Christian’s identity is placed in Christ, as a Child of God.

The definition of religion is fuzzy within today’s Christian culture and the secular world. Many people think that religion is a conversation killer, but Dark challenges this idea and uses anecdotal evidence to illustrate Christ’s presence in secular activities. Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious is a good book to challenge Christians to reflect on their faith life and Christ’s daily presence. Dark encourages Christians to share the Gospel and let Christ control their lives even when there is tension around “non-religious people.”



Dark, David. David Dark. 2016. 31 August 2017. <>.

—. Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious. Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2016. Print.

“After 500 Years, Does Lutheranism still matter?” 8-29-17

The Reformation Heritage lecture’s keynote speaker was Dr. Bartelt of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Dr. Bartelt’s main point was to discuss if Lutheranism still matters after 500 years after the Reformation. Bartelt stated, “religious life is always in context of our place in history.” The world is constantly changing and progressing, but theology stays the same. What was applicable to Luther is applicable for people today. His argument was very compelling and included many key points that helped guide the audience to realize that, as a Lutheran community, we are subject to change (no matter how hard it is), and through the ever-present chaos, God’s Word remains constant.

In Honors last semester, the class read a section of a book called “God of the Oppressed,” by James Cone. From this portion, the Honors class learned that the message of God remains constant across cultural lines, but the way a community approaches and connects with theology is different. The same goes for how someone like Martin Luther would approach theology differently from Dr. Bartelt and from a millennial. This semester, Honors 210 is talking about living in an interconnected world. This can be tricky, but Bartelt reminds his audience that the next generation needs to recognize the tensions and be serious about theology, rather than accepting theology with a shrug, and build a bridge to cross the cultural divide in our ever-changing, technological, and secular world.

I enjoyed Dr. Bartelt’s lecture. I think that his message was long and there were times when my attention was no longer drawn, but when it seemed like my attention was focused on other things, he brought me back with more insight. I thought his two most impactful statements were, “theology does not change, social context does,” and “social context and chaos are changing today.” These statements helped me realize that the progress of society can get messy and be difficult, like Dr. Bartelt mentioned the sixties were, but God’s Word remains consistent and applicable to all generations.