Humane Technology, Your Host Culture, and You

I spend a lot of time thinking about technology. As a mom, I think about how it affects my kids’ values, their development, their well-being. As a wife, I think about how it’s affecting my marriage–not if, but how. Because folks, we spend a lot more time parallel than we used to, and not the good kind of parallel. We’re both watching TV, but we’re both still on our phones. That’s got to be having an impact.

Photo by Buro Millennial on

But I’ve never spent much time thinking about technology as a Christian, and the above article has me thinking maybe I should. How is technology affecting our community? This idea of ethical technology use is one that’s going to be rattling around in my head for a while before I land anywhere, but I think there’s a lot to learn from our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Amish church. Yes, there’s a lot of legalism, but there’s also a lot of care and concern for the whole person and the whole community.

I read this book ages ago. I probably need a re-read. Probably annually.

If you’re interested, here’s more thoughts on tech addiction and ethical usage:

I want technology in my home: I think rejecting entirely is probably foolish, especially in the missionary life, where political situations can become unstable at the drop of a hat. But I also want to teach my kids (and myself) moderation. Occasional tech fasts (often on Sundays…but not this one, apparently) have kept me grounded. Getting some distance from my phone often feels like the best thing I can do for my mental health. But this isn’t easy in Haitian culture: my friends expect me to answer the phone, every time it rings. So I just had to explain to them that I’m not going to. Were they hurt? A little. But you know, that boundary has helped me maintain my own mental health. I needed it. I needed to give myself permission to unplug.

Is tech use something you’ve discussed as a family? As a community of believers? How does your host culture use technology? Where do you come down?

Happy Sunday, mamas…or whatever day it is where you are. (Curse you, time zones.)

Just an FYI that I am an Amazon affiliate, so if you purchase something from one of the links above, they pay me a small fee that doesn’t affect the price of what you bought.

Life in the Armpit Podcast show notes

First, an apology to Barb: we recorded this 100 years ago, and then you politely pointed out that I said the wrong month in my intro…and I never fixed it. And because I never fixed, I didn’t post it. So there you go. I’m sorry for being simultaneously a perfectionist who cannot let things go and a lazy bum who won’t correct my own mistakes. I am an enigma.

Now, for the rest of you! As Barb and I were talking on the podcast, we talked about a LOT of sites and links. So here you go!


If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg

FREE/CHEAP KINDLE BOOKS: Don’t have a Kindle? You can get a free Kindle app for your tablet! Or your desktop computer! Or your laptop computer! So no excuses, okay? You can personalize most of these to get the kind of books YOU like. And if you feel guilty about getting a book for free, you can give the author a nice review in exchange (assuming you liked it). Mason Cooley said it best: “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”


My Book Cave (love how specific they are about content!)

Amazon’s Top 100 Free Kindle Books

Project Gutenberg (good for classics)


Open Library



Need more? I always tell people that if you pay taxes where you come from, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use the ebook collection from your library. Look into it! And if it doesn’t work out, you can sign up for Overdrive to check them out yourself. It’s gotta be cheaper than buying them.


You’re maybe saying, “Who has time to sit down in front of the computer for this?” It’s so easy to put podcasts on your phone now. Live in the now, ladies–and “the now” is podcasts that we’re pretending aren’t just what we’ve been doing for hundreds of years through radio. Downcast and Stitcher are pretty good apps, if you need one.

The Moth. Oh, how I love it. You’ll either laugh or cry. Both are good. These are true stories told by the people who lived them, and they’re amazing.

How I Built This : Barb mentioned this one. Like her, I am an information junkie, so I’ll put it on my list.

Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me: If you feel like you can’t keep up with the news (like me), this will help catch you up a little with a giggle thrown in for good measure. Caution: some of it is a bit crass for little ears, because, you know, politics.

Planet Money: This isn’t about your personal finances–it’s about how economies work. It’s about why you see blue pallets everywhere, it’s about why truffle oil is so expensive, it’s about why it takes so long to do online bank to bank money transfers. Curious yet?

New Heights Church: This church has been really intentional about blessing one of our programs in Indonesia, and that’s so cool to see. Their pastor, Matt Hannan, came to Idaho and did some training for us before we went to the field. Good stuff.

Andy Stanley: I’ve heard of him, but I haven’t listened to his stuff.

Craig Groeschel: I hadn’t heard of him. Maybe you haven’t either. Until now, obvs.

The Sporkful: Sounds like my kind of podcast, thought it might make me hungry, and as we all know, eating with earbuds in is just disgusting because you can hear yourself chewing. Oh, you’ve never tried that? Well…um…

Mud Stories with Jacque Watkins: The last one seems to be about technology tools for moms, so maybe less applicable where you are, but she also had Ann Voskamp, so…

God Centered Mom: I listened to this one so much when I first had Peter. She did one on anger that had me in tears, it was so transparent and just…true.

Twitter chat!

Night (5)

So, I use Twitter to learn about all kinds of things, but mostly book publishing. And they have a very helpful thing called #askagent, where agents will get online and you can, well, ask them stuff. So it’s kind of like a chat room, except literally anyone anywhere can participate at the time or scroll through it later to see questions and answers. I realized that there’s lots of people in the States who follow this blog, who may be pre-field or just curious about what life is like on the mission field. So (drumroll please!) I’d like to do our own Twitter chat!

Here’s how to participate:

1. Get on Twitter. It’s free! (A missionary mama’s favorite price, amIright?) If you don’t have a log in, make one.

2. Next, at the designated time (in this case, November 14th at 8:00 EST), use the search bar towards the top to search for “#MMMchat”. Yes, you need the hashtag (that’s the pound sign for us old-timers).


2b. Search for my Twitter name (@charms139) and you should be able to see me using that hashtag.

3. Ask a question in 140 characters or less. Abbreviate! It’s okay. And include the #MMMchat hashtag so I’ll see it and (hopefully) answer.

For example: “What do you do when your laundry won’t dry? #MMMchat”

Let’s try it! I’ll show up one week from today on November 14th from 8:00-9:00 EST, full of wisdom and insight and definitely not exhausted from wrestling two kids into bed, and you can hit me with your best shot. You know, digitally, anyway.

See you there!

Freebie Friday: Free Apps for Kids


I stumbled across this a while back, and we’ve gotten some really fun apps this way! Okay, so I save them up for travel days and then I say, “HEY, stop crying on airplanes, LOOK, it’s a NEW GAME.” The only catch is that they’re usually only free today, so get ’em downloading soon, since you know it’s going to take forever. (Can I get an amen?)

Happy Friday! You made it through the week!

Smart Apps for Kids Free App Friday