⏳The Reality of Virtual Reality

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“Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” – Psalm 105:4

Dear stewards,

Hope your week is going well, you’re finding purpose in your calling, and you’re glorifying God in all that you do.

I was on the For the Gospel podcast with Costi Hinn earlier this week talking about Christians and video games. Listen to the episode, Video Games: Innocent Hobby or Immature Habit? If you’re not already following FTG, you should. It’s an awesome ministry!

It’s been so encouraging to see the positive feedback and reviews of my new book, A Student’s Guide to Gaming. Thank you so much to all of you who have posted reviews or messaged me about it!

You can pick up a sample chapter of the book by clicking the banner below. There’s also info on that page about how to buy it.

Alrighty, let’s get into this week’s Roundup!

✨ New on Redeeming Productivity

🎙The Real Cost of Social Media with Chris Martin (49 mins)

In this episode, I’m joined by Chris Martin who is the author of the new book Terms of Service: The Real Cost of Social Media. We discuss how social media is affecting us and how Christians should think about engaging online.

Make sure you’re subscribed to the Redeeming Productivity Show so you don’t miss an episode.

🧑‍💻The Roundup

The Dream of Virtual Reality (13 mins)

This is a good read. But let me just offer an unusually long personal note before you read the article.

If you find yourself giving side eyes to all this Metaverse hubbub, I do think you’ll appreciate this thoughtful critique of the unfettered optimism surrounding humanity’s transition to virtual worlds. Primarily, the author takes aim at the claim that “virtual reality is genuine reality.”

This matter has come up a lot in churches with regard to the legitimacy of ordinances performed virtually. During the COVID lockdowns, many churches encouraged at-home congregants to participate in communion over Zoom. Recently, another church was doing “baptisms in the metaverse.”

As usual, there are critics and supporters on both sides. From my perspective, however, it seems obvious that virtual reality is no replacement for the physical world. But when one posits a future virtual world that is nearly indistinguishable from real life, you have to have some firmer principles to appeal to. My gut revulsion to an all-digital life doesn’t constitute a very good argument.

Clearly, some aspects of our lives have been moved to the virtual world. Work most recently, but entertainment was virtualized decades ago with movies, Television, and later the home computer and video games. Previously, entertainment was always an in-person event. And yet aside from mild statements of concern, we willingly glue our faces to screens all day already. I’m certain that previous generations would look at our virtualized lives as harbingers of societal collapse. But now that the digitization of everyday life is moving another step forward with all this Metaverse stuff, will we just offer our own mild criticisms only to eventually be swept along with it like every naysayer who criticized the internet or Facebook or the motorized carriages?

The question isn’t so much where you draw the line in the sand. It’s why do you draw it there? What we need is a theology of why and when virtual reality cannot be a substitute for real life. We have to have some principles to stand on, not just our own arbitrary “well in my day….” What exactly is the difference between real life and virtual life?

I don’t have the answers. And I don’t think this article does either. But I appreciated the author’s analogy of virtual reality to dreams. It’s a good starting place.

There’s also an audio version.

(L. M. Sacasas / The Convivial Society)

What Should I Do When My Colleague Overpromises? (3 mins)

Good advice for an all too common dilemma believers face at work.

“Sometimes I hear my boss promise things I know we can’t deliver. I know he’s just trying to reassure the client and land the sale, but it makes me deeply uncomfortable. I want to correct him, but I also want to respect him—especially in front of our clients. Is there a way to correct someone so gently it won’t be embarrassing?”

(Charlie Self / The Gospel Coalition)

The Downside of Your Bible-Saturated Newsfeeds (5 mins)

“We’ve come a long way from the church in the second and third centuries where so many members could not own, let alone read, a copy of the Scriptures. Now, Bible commentaries flood in through radio, internet, podcasts, and television. Yet this rush of availability comes with drawbacks.”

(Brianna Lambert / Gospel-Centered Discipleship)

A Better Way to Say No (5 mins)

Some good practical advice if you struggle to say no.

“Saying no feels awkward. It feels impolite. It makes you feel bad that maybe you’re not as nice or as helpful a person as you’d like to think, and it makes the asker feel bad that you’re somehow rejecting them personally.

But there’s a way to decline invitations and requests that allows both you and the asker to remember that saying no doesn’t make you a bad person.

It’s called the ‘positive no.’”

(Brett & Kate McKay / The Art of Manliness)

the new hire who showed up is not the same person we interviewed (5 mins)

This is a fascinating (and humorous) real-life story that sounds like the plot of a Sister, Sister episode.

“My husband works in IT and is on the leadership team at a midsized private company. He was part of a panel that recently interviewed a number of folks for an open position on his team. They are entirely remote. They had a few candidates for a first and second round, and had one make it to a third final round before an offer. ‘John’ accepted the offer and started last week! Except … it’s not the John my husband remembers.”

(Alison Green / Ask a Manager)

🖋Quote of the Week

Of how many of you is it true that, if ever you did entertain a noble purpose, you never found a convenient season to carry it out.

– Charles Spurgeon

Resurfaced with Readwise.

🎓 Redeeming Productivity Academy

RPA is a membership program for productive Christians. Access a growing library of courses and a community of other believers striving to steward their lives for the glory of God.

Here’s a peek at what’s happening this month in Redeeming Productivity Academy:

  • 🙋‍♂️Content Creator Q&A with Reagan. I’m hosting a live Q&A for Christians who are interested in getting into blogging, podcasting, YouTube, or newsletter writing. I’ll share my processes, what I’ve learned, and take questions from you.
  • 📚 Book Club: Heart & Habits. We’re about to start reading Heart & Habits by Greg Gifford together. Follow the weekly reading schedule and discuss the book together.
  • ✅ February Habit Challenge. Come get your streak on with the monthly Habit Challenge. Choose one habit, mark every day you do it successfully, and win prizes!
  • 🛠 Toolshed: Using Dynamic Data in Obsidian. Bodie, our resident Obsidian guru, will be taking us into the deep magic of this popular writing tool. He will show us how to create custom, live-updating lists, tables, and menus inside an Obsidian vault.
  • 🚪Office Hours. Stop by my weekly office hours to get help on a productivity problem, enjoy some casual banter, or just hang out with me and other RPA members.
  • And much more. The membership also includes to all past trainings, Toolshed sessions, and access to our always-interesting online community.

Join the community to grow in your personal development, get accountability for your goals, and connect with other productivity-minded believers!

Come join us!

🤠 Pardners*

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  • Redeem your commute by listening to audiobooks from Audible. Listen free for one month.
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Pardners are paid classifieds or affiliate links that support Reagan’s Roundup. To enquire about placing a classified ad in Reagan’s Roundup, simply reply to this email.

⌛️That’s All for this Week

Hit reply to send me link suggestions for future issues or just to say hey.

I’ll see you next time!

– Reagan

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