Surface Tensions: Searching for Sacred Connection in a Media-Saturated World
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Surface Tensions: Searching for Sacred Connection in a Media-Saturated World

Hendrickson Publishers / 2016 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW707665


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Product Description

For some, our media-saturated culture points to the decline of Western civilization; for others, it points to the dawn of a bright future. For Nathan Roberts, the mediated landscape is a place to thoughtfully engage with these tensions. This unique memoir, meditative and philosophical, chronicles Nathan's absorption in the vital, inspiring, and often maddening power of media and entertainment. With wry self-effacement and raw honesty, he calls us to conceive of media not only as an abstract, postmodern phenomenon, but as a digital architecture that creates real meeting space. Exploring social media, music, film, art, theater, standup comedy, and more, Nathan shows us a world of entertainment that reflects the universal hunger for connection.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 250
Vendor: Hendrickson Publishers
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.5 X 5.5 (inches)
ISBN-13: 9781619707665

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Author Bio

Nathan Roberts is an arts, culture, and creative nonfiction writer working toward a PhD in Film and Visual Studies at Harvard University. His writing has been featured on TIME.com, Patheos.com, The High Calling, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/nathanrobertsauthor, on Twitter @nathandroberts, and at his blog, Fade Into Focus, at nathandroberts.com.

Endorsements

"Nathan Roberts is a gifted docent and tutor, offering a faith-affirming, literate, humorous, vulnerable, and thought-provoking perspective on our mediated lives-and lives of faith. Drawing on a wide range of voices from Kierkegaard to Veggie Tales, Christian Wiman to Instagram, Paul Tillich to Sunday school flannelgraphs, this is a book that will be read and discussed in both classes and coffee shops - I highly recommend it."
-Tod Bolsinger, Vice President for Vocation and Formation, Fuller Theological Seminary; author of Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory

"Reading Surface Tensions, I was surprised at how deeply I identified with Nathan and his beautifully articulated struggle: to connect in an increasingly anonymous world, to cope with absence and presence, to care, to take the chance to be known, to wrestle with the question that all of us are asking: do I matter?"
-Ashley Cleveland, Grammy Award-winning recording artist and author of "Little Black Sheep"

"We Christians are called to faithfully live in the world that is, a world of screens and recordings and text messages. Nate's honesty, humor, and insight help us see how that might be accomplished."
-From the Foreword by Alissa Wilkinson, Critic at Large, Christianity Today

"Nathan Roberts has a rare gift, and I am looking forward to reading more from him for years to come. It is his instincts that most intrigue me. Able to read the world with uncanny ability, he is also embedded in the hope that the Christian vision gives him eyes to see the reality of his mediated existence in the pilgrimage that will be the rest of life."
-Steven Garber, The Washington Institute for Faith, Vocation & Culture, and author of "Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good."

"The rapid pace of technological change makes it very difficult to construct a systematic accounting of technology. And this is why we need detailed, personal accounts of how technology comes to shape a person's life, relationships, and understanding of the world. Nathan offers us just such an account, one that will likely resonate with those in his own generation and offer a unique window in for those of other generations."
-John Dyer, Executive Director of Communications and Educational Technology, Dallas Theological Seminary

Product Reviews

4.7 Stars Out Of 5
4.7 out of 5
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(1)
(0)
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Quality:
5 out Of 5
(5 out of 5)
Value:
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4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
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  1. LLC
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Surface Tensions
    July 16, 2016
    LLC
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    When I finished Nathan Roberts' Surface Tensions, I was sadly aware that it would be a long time before another one of these comes along: a book to add to that small shelf of ones I want to keep close by for the rest of my life. From the first pages, I was charmed by this young man's brilliant insights and cunning humor into following him on his quest for truth, wherever that leads: through his childhood, into an early fascination with the mystique of film, TV and finally social media. I was especially captured by Roberts' attempt to surface from the sea of his upbringing -- the white Protestant church in southern California, ca. 1990s to the present -- in order to find what might remain for him after the debris of cultural non-essentials are stripped away. Unrelentingly honest, soul shaking and heart breaking, Surface Tensions uncovers a deeper substrate of holiness in the personal, intimate connections that arc above and point to what the mediated world has obscured: a pervasive, if mysterious, God.
  2. Jennie
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Reading Nathan
    July 13, 2016
    Jennie
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Our family had the lucky privilege of walking alongside Nathan and his family as much of this book was taking place. So, for me, reading Nathan's words and reflections was a mix of happy memories and deeper understanding for what it was like for another person doing life in the same place and time as me. That's cool! I can attest that Nathan's memories ring true - from a young person's perspective. So, for those who were actually, physically there, I recommend Surface Tensions as a way to gain some hindsight perspective about how we treat people and how technology has and continues to have a place in our church and world. For those who don't know Nathan ...you'll be inspired by a millennial's view of growing up in the 2000s and becoming an adult today, in the 2010s. You'll have a bird's eye view of how relationships are built, formed and even finished in a substantially "screen" driven environment. If you're like me, sometimes, you'll say to yourself, man, this kid is smart...I have no idea what he's talking about. So, like me, you might look up one of the passages he sites and read it through for more context or maybe skip one because you know it's just over your head (yeah, I did that) or possibly look up a word, or two. Thank you, Nathan for expanding my vocabulary to include "solipsistic." In the end, what I got out of Nathan's memoir was a realistic and honest understanding of how his life has gone up to now - in the ripe old mid-twenties. I found myself understanding better (1) what life looks like from inside the head of a pastor's kid (2) what life feels like for young adults who have basically grown-up with technology in their pocket, or at least on a desktop and (3) how I might use my own life experiences and history to intersect with millenials in my life (hopefully) with empathy. All of these are valuable take-aways and reasons to pick up Surface Tensions for yourself! PS I'm saying 4 stars so Nathan writes another book and another to reach for the fifth star. What a Gen X thing to do!!
  3. Friendly Neighborhood Reviewer
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Insightful, Reflective Read
    July 13, 2016
    Friendly Neighborhood Reviewer
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Roberts does a remarkable job giving readers an incredibly vulnerable insight into his struggle to connect, both as a result of, and in spite of, the media saturated world in which we all live. Full of self-deprecating humor, I found the book surprisingly conversational. Moreover, as a Pastor's son, Roberts describes his relationship with Christ not as an automatically accepted and all-at-once deeply fulfilling; rather, we see his struggle to reconcile himself with his faith. Surface Tensions is a truly beautiful memoir, and certainly aptly named. Highly recommend, especially for those who find themselves feeling disconnected from their friends, their family, or their faith. Well worth the read.
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