My daily bus ride to and from work is a technophile's paradise. At any given time, virtually all my fellow commuters may have headphones on or be tapping away at an iPod or smartphone. Even novel-reading is done largely (though not exclusively) with svelte e-readers.

It's fun to be a part of this "heaven of tech"—I love technology and devour news about the latest trends in hardware and software. But seeing the prevalence of tech in people's everyday commute also got me thinking about the larger role it plays in our lives. For my part, I often feel overconnected, bombarded by a constant stream of input that's corrosive to my ability to focus. At times technology strikes me as not only ubiquitous, but consuming and even addictive. On the other hand, I know that for some it can seem remote, inaccessible, or threatening. I know there are many people who feel like they're being left behind by technology—because it's too complex for them, or because for economic or geographic reasons they can't take part in it.

Is there a way to live in balance with technology—to understand it and appreciate the benefits it brings to people, without affording it primacy in our lives? The writers this week have taken on this concept of technological balance—in terms of spiritual balance. Tony Lobl says in our cover story, "Our interaction with technological resources can be God-guided, not just an expression of human preference. It can be divinely tempered (if we're too immersed) and divinely nudged (if we have a too-hesitant toe in the water)" (p. 14). And Mark Swinney shares how a spiritual focus can free us from compulsive reliance on technology. "God's care and love," he writes, "are the real substance of living. ... addictive behaviors are no part of the man of God's creating" (p. 17). We hope the ideas in this issue will help shed some light on the issue of technology, as we consider together the role it plays in our lives.

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September 20, 2010

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