Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Turning Off, Tuning Out, Unplugging

Smartphones present a paradox of postdigital culture that is both freeing and enslaving. They offer links to the whole world resting in the palm of your hand. However, the fear and anxiety of being cut off from those links can lead to a serious psychological disorder called “nomophobia,”an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone phobia.” Scientific papers in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, and other journals of psychology and public health, claim that smartphones are possibly the biggest nondrug addiction of the twenty-first century.

A cure for nomophobia is offered in the Bible’s commandment to observe a Sabbath day by turning off, tuning out, and unplugging once a week. It was an unprecedented concept in the ancient world with potent relevance in postdigital culture. Put your smartphones, computers, and tablets to sleep. Just tune in to God’s creations, enjoy family and friends, walk in the forest and fields, watch the sunrise and sunset, and play with your children.

My granddaughter Elianne playing Shabbat Queen 

Adopt the formula instituted millennia ago to free the Israelites from their enslavement in Egypt to free you from the being enslaved by the ubiquitous digital technologies that too often rule all of our waking hours. The fourth of the Ten Commandments enjoins us to remember what it was to be a slave who never had a break from the repetitive sameness of everyday life (Deuteronomy 5:12–15). 

Make every seventh day Shabbat, different from the other six days of the week. Make it an Ecology Day by leaving the world the way we got it. Make it a Non-Art Day when we honor God’s creations rather than ours. Observance of Shabbat is in tune with Wikipedia’s definition of postdigital as “an attitude that is more concerned with being human, than with being digital.”

Shabbat was given to the Israelites at Mount Sinai as a gift to share with all humanity, a gift particularly valuable to everyone in our fastpaced postdigital world. In his seminal book The Sabbath: Its Meaning to Modern Man, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel taught that observing Shabbat invites us to become attuned to holiness in time rather than living in the tyranny of space, both real and virtual. “It is a day in which we are called upon to share what is eternal in time, to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation; from the world of creation to the creation of the world.”

As the sun sets on Friday, Miriam lights Shabbat candles, closes her eyes to her busy week, and blesses God, sovereign of the universe, who bestows upon us a good and long life. On opening her eyes, she sees calming candle light ushering in a day qualitatively different from all the other digital days of the week. My wife and I celebrate Shabbat with a thanksgiving dinner, not once a year in November, but every week. We enjoy our growing family of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren singing together around our table. The table is covered with a tablecloth embroidered by my mother and a challah cover embroidered by my wife’s mother, illuminated by the warm glow of the Shabbat candles. Until stars dot the Saturday-night sky, we are invited to keep our eyes opened to everyday miracles of being.

One day each week, stop doing, stop making, just enjoy being alive. Delight in all that happens around you. Don’t seek out things to frame and shoot. Let them be. Shabbat is a Divine gift to all people for all time. You are invited to observe Shabbat as a powerful way to free you from being enslaved by technological wizardry. 

On the eighth day, return with renewed energies to being partners with God in the continuing creation. Enjoy being immersed in the amazing technological wonders of our era, knowing that you are free to tune out, turn off, and unplug on the next Shabbat.

(The above is an excerpt from the book Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights forSmartphone Photography and Social Media by Mel Alexenberg)

Monday, September 9, 2019

3-Step Program for Cure and Prevention of Smartphone Addiction

Research at MIT, Columbia University and universities in Israel by Dr. Mel Alexenberg is revealed in his new highly acclaimed book
Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media

A spiritual cure for the global epidemic of smartphone addiction is revealed in Through a Bible Lens by Dr. Alexenberg.  It is based on his research on the interrelationships between digital culture, creative process, and biblical thought at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and as professor at Columbia University and universities in Israel.

The intensity of this plague becomes evident in a Google search “smartphone addiction” that yielded 51,100,000 sites, and 8,380,000 sites for “cures for smartphone addictions.” Scientific papers in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions and other journals of psychology and public health claim that smartphones are the biggest non-drug addiction of the 21st century.

In the language of digital culture: Dr. Alexenberg wrote Through a Bible Lens in the language of digital culture to reach millennials, the most addicted population, while teaching all generations the most up-to-date thoughts on how the Bible offers fresh insights on the impact of new technologies on contemporary life.  His book offers resources for The Bible Cure as a three-step program:

 Turn off, tune out, unplug: The first step found in the words of the Ten Commandments, “On six days do all your work, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of compete rest, holy to God,” invites you to turn off, tune out, unplug once a week. Make every seventh day different from the other six days of the week. Enjoy family and friends, walk in the forest and fields, and watch the sunrise and sunset.

Reboot your smartphone for spiritual seeing: The second step of the cure does not ask you not to use your smartphone, but rather to redefine how you use it.  Reboot your smartphone for spiritual seeing so that you see beyond the digital world of the screen. Experience the real word by transforming your smartphone into a camera for photographing your everyday life from biblical perspectives. 

Bible blog your life: The third step teaches you how to use your smartphone to build a personal Bible blog for creating a vibrant dialogue between your emerging life story and the enduring biblical narrative that you can share with others.  The Bible Cure is equally effective for preventing smartphone addiction.


Praise for Through a Bible Lens:

“The iPhone has changed our culture and our ways of thinking and acting in the world. The book offers profound insights about meaning and purpose in contemporary life in a brilliant and sustained exposition. Great book!” Dr. Ron Burnett, author of How Images Think; president, University of Art and Design, Vancouver, Canada

“A unique and fascinating book. Who would have thought that there would be a way to connect smartphones to the ancient world of the Bible?” Prof. Gerald R. McDermott, Beeson Divinity School, Stamford University, Birmingham, Alabama

“This is one of those books that other thinkers will wish they had somehow thought about how to write, and to which readers of diverse sorts will simply respond by saying: wow!” Dr. Ori Z. Soltes, professorial lecturer of Theology and Fine Arts, Georgetown University, Washington, DC

“Offers a template, a guidebook on how to experience images of the Divine in every moment and use blogging technology to disseminate them. The wisdom found in this unique book invites us to share the story of our Divine journey.” Bishop Robert Stearns, Executive Director, Eagles’ Wings, New York

“The book's wonderful synthesis between spirituality and technology, heaven and earth, is exciting and thought-provoking.” Rabbi Chanan Morrison, author of Sapphire from the Land of Israel 

“A joy to any lover of the Bible, Christian or Jewish. I not only endorse it, I look forward to integrating these ideas into my personal encounter with Scripture." Dr. Jim Solberg, author of Sinai Speaks; USA National Director, Bridges for Peace 
 
Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media is available on Amazon, other Internet booksellers and bookstores.
 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Discover Spirituality in the Post-Digital Era with Mel Alexenberg’s 'Through a Bible Lens'

Press Release from the book's publisher Elm Hill/HarperCollins 

Mel Alexenberg’s latest book helps readers rekindle their faith in the age of smartphones and social media

Mel Alexenberg redefines what it means to be Christians and Jews in the post-digital era in his new book, Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media. What was originally a blog-art project has becomes a worldwide inspiration for many believers to see biblical teachings in a modern light.

Over the centuries, the Holy Bible has been one of the best-selling books and the most widely distributed piece of literature of all time. According to the Guinness World Records, this book has sold over 5,000,000,000 units as of today.  However, with the prevalence of social media and smartphones, it can be difficult to reconcile its usage with spirituality.  This is the conundrum that Mel tackled in Through a Bible Lens.

As an artist, writer, and educator, he has delved into the interrelationships between religion and the modern world.  Apart from his literary works and lectures, he also uses his passion for post-digital art and his Jewish consciousness to provide a fresh perspective regarding biblical insights for people, both young and old, from all walks of life. His reflection and unique take on spirituality transcend the boundaries people have created to distinguish race, age, religious affiliation, and beliefs.

In Through a Bible Lens, the author illustrated his life in Ra’anana, Israel, with his wife Miriam Benjamin, and their children and grandchildren.  Using photographs of their daily routine and his deep understating of the Bible, he was able to transform the use of smartphones and social media into a way of observing and sharing biblical narratives as they unfold in everyday life.

“There is confluence emerging in the twenty-first century between biblical consciousness and post-digi8tal culture.  Both share a structure of consciousness and its cultural expression that honors creative process and a different spirit.” Said Mel.  He continued, “Make the dialog between the biblical narrative and your life story reach the ends of the Earth through the blogosphere and Twitterverse.”

See praise for the book at http://throughabiblelens.blogspot.com

Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media is available on Amazon and other Internet booksellers and bookstores

Book details: Title: Through a Bible Lens; Author: Mel Alexenberg; Genre: RELIGION/Biblical Commentary/Old Testament; ISBN: PB -9781595558312 / HB (CW) – 9781595557124; Pages: 244; Publisher: Elm Hill/HarperCollins

Contact author for information, interviews, articles, and book reviews. 
melalexenberg@yahoo.com 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

"Breaking Israel News" Article on Breaking Free from Smartphone Addiction

BREAKING ISRAEL NEWS: Latest News/Biblical Perspective article by Dr. Alexenberg on how THROUGH A BIBLE LENS teaches how to break free from smartphone addiction by Turning Off/Tuning Out/Unplugging, Rebooting Your Smartphone for Spiritual Seeing, and Bible Blogging Your Life.

https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/125503/new-book-reveals-bible-cure-for-smartphone-addiction-opinion/

This is one of the 50 photos in the book "Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media"

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

"IsraelSeen" article "Dr. Mel Alexenberg - Bible Cure for Smartphone Addiction Revealed in New Book"

Read my longer and more detailed article in IsraelSeen "Dr. Mel Alexenberg - Bible Cure for Smartphone Addiction Revealed in New Book"

https://israelseen.com/2019/04/02/dr-mel-alexenberg-bible-cure-for-smartphone-addiction-revealed-in-new-book/

This is one of the 50 photos in the book "Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media"

"Times of Israel" Article "Discovering a Bible Cure for Smartphone Addiction"

At The Times of Israel, read my article "Discovering a Bible Cure for Smartphone Photography in Through a Bible Lens"

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/discovering-a-bible-cure-for-smartphone-addiction-in-through-a-bible-lens/

This is one of the 50 photos in the book "Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media"

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Dr. Alexenberg's Bible Cure Article on PHONEWEEK: Smartphone News

Read Dr. Alexenberg's article in PHONEWEEK: Mobile, Tablets and Laptops "New Book Reveals Bible Cure for Smartphone Addiction."

https://www.phoneweek.co.uk/new-book-reveals-bible-cure-for-smartphone-addiction/

This is one of the 50 photos in the book "Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media"

Friday, March 29, 2019

Discover a Bible Cure for Smartphone Addiction with Dr. Alexenberg's "Through a Bible Lens"

A spiritual cure for the global epidemic of smartphone addiction is revealed in the highly acclaimed book Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media by Dr. Mel Alexenberg.  It is based on his research on the interrelationships between digital culture, creative process, and biblical thought at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and as professor at Columbia University and universities in Israel.

The intensity of this plague becomes evident in a Google search “smartphone addiction” that yields 42,500,000 sites.  7,450,000 people search for “cures for smartphone addictions.” Scientific papers in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions and other journals of psychology and public health claim that smartphones are the biggest non-drug addiction of the 21st century.

Dr. Alexenberg wrote Through a Bible Lens in the language of digital culture to reach millennials, the most addicted population, while teaching all generations the most up-to-date thoughts on how the Bible offers fresh insights on the impact of new technologies on contemporary life. 

He reveals hidden messages by translating the biblical text with its multiple meanings from the original Hebrew. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” can be read as “In the network of networks, God created media systems for creating heaven and earth.” Then we read “God separated between the light and darkness,” the binary basis of digital technology encoded as 1-0, on-off.
  

Turn Off/Tune Out/Unplug
The words of the Ten Commandments, “On six days do all your work, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of compete rest, holy to God,” invites us to turn off, tune out, unplug. Make every seventh day different from the other six days of the week. Enjoy family and friends, walk in the forest and fields, and watch the sunrise and sunset.

Reboot your Smartphone

The next stages of the cure do not ask you not to use your smartphone, but rather to redefine how you use it.  Reboot your smartphone for spiritual seeing so that you see beyond the digital world of the screen. Experience the real word by transforming your smartphone into a camera for photographing your everyday life from biblical perspectives. 

Bible Blog Your Life

Through a Bible Lens also teaches how to use your smartphone to Bible blog your life by creating a vibrant dialogue between your emerging life story and the enduring biblical narrative that you can share with others.  The Bible cure is equally effective for preventing smartphone addiction.

See praise for the book at http://throughabiblelens.blogspot.com. For further information contact the author at melalexenberg@yahoo.com.


Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media is available on Amazon and other Internet booksellers and bookstores

Friday, March 22, 2019

New Book Reveals a Bible Cure for Smartphone Addiction

My years researching the interrelationships between digital culture, creative process, and biblical thought at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and as professor at Columbia University and universities in Israel has inspired me to write Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media.  The book reveals a Bible cure for smartphone addiction plaguing millions worldwide.

Smartphones present a paradox of digital culture that is both freeing and enslaving.  They offer links to the whole world resting in the palm of your hand.  However, the fear and anxiety of being cut off from those links can lead to a serious disorder that psychologists call “nomophobia,” an abbreviation for "NO-MObile-PHOne phoBIA." 

The intensity of this global epidemic becomes evident in a Google search “smartphone addiction” that yields 42,500,000 sites.  7,450,000 people search for “cures for smartphone addictions.” Scientific papers in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions and other journals of psychology and public health claim that smartphones are the biggest non-drug addiction of the 21st century. 

I wrote the book in the language of digital culture to reach millennials, the most addicted population, while teaching all generations the most up-to-date thoughts on how The Bible offers fresh insights on the impact of new technologies on contemporary life.

Through a Bible Lens presents a spiritual cure for smartphone addiction in three steps derived from key biblical passages.  The first step demonstrates how to delight in all that happens around you by turning off, tuning out and unplugging one day each week. The next steps do not ask you not to use your smartphone, but rather to redefine how you use it.

My grandson Razel capturing the Sea of Galilee in his hand

Step two, “Reboot Your Smartphone for Spiritual Seeing” teaches how to reboot your smartphone so that its screen becomes transparent.  You will learn to see beyond the digital world of your screen to experiencing the real word by transforming your smartphone into a camera for photographing your everyday life from biblical perspectives. The third step, “Bible Blog Your Life,” describes ways of using social media to create and share a vibrant dialogue between your emerging life story and the enduring biblical narrative. 

The prescribed cure is equally effective for preventing smartphone addiction.

Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media is available at Amazon and other Internet booksellers and bookstores

Sunday, March 17, 2019

"Through a Bible Lens" Teaches How to Cure Smartphone Addiction


(Wikimedia Commons)

Through a Bible Lens reveals a spiritual cure for the serious problem of smartphone addiction by teaching how to shift focus from the screen to photographing your everyday life from biblical perspectives.  It also shows how to delight in all that happens around you by turning off, tuning out and unplugging one day each week. The prescribed cure is equally effective for preventing smartphone addiction.

In this highly acclaimed book, Dr. Mel Alexenberg proposes creative solutions for smartphone addiction plaguing millions worldwide. These solutions developed from his years researching the interface between digital culture, creative process, and biblical consciousness at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Columbia University and universities in Israel.

The book speaks in the language of  digital culture to reach millennials, the most addicted population. It presents to all generations the most up-to-date thoughts on how The Bible gives fresh insights on the impact of new technologies on contemporary life. Christians and Jews should buy THROUGH A BIBLE LENS for themselves as well as for their children and grandchildren.

Through a Bible Lens: Biblical Insights for Smartphone Photography and Social Media is available at Amazon and other Internet booksellers and bookstores

Turning Off, Tuning Out, Unplugging

Smartphones present a paradox of postdigital culture that is both freeing and enslaving. They offer links to the whole world resting in the ...