#56: On living little in an online world with Samuel D. James.

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If you were to come up with a watchword for our present moment, it undoubtedly would be something like, “Live Big” or “Live Bold” or “Make a Name for Yourself” or “Be All You Can Be” (oh yeah, that one already exists) or “Do You” (I hate that one). It is easy to perceive what our culture values in just the ubiquity of those phrases alone, namely, inflated self-regard and self-interest at the expense of others. This lifestyle, of course, is nothing new. Self-concern is innate from birth, from now dating all the way back to when Cain and Abel came to be. But mankind’s conceit has certainly been exacerbated by the onslaught of social media and its tendering of the amphetamine of notoriety. The current societal climate is so caught up with “making a name” for themselves that they are essentially jettisoning the life for which they are made, the life which the gospel remedies them to live, namely, a life of quiet faithfulness. Indeed, there is a very palpable cognitive dissonance between the life we are called to live in the gospel of God and the life social media entices us to have. And most of the struggles that come about in one’s faith are likely due to those two ways of life coming into conflict. Such is why I am thankful for the writing ministry of today’s guest, Samuel D. James.

Sam’s essays are continually resonant for me. He articulates the juxtaposition between faith and social media (among many other issues) with gentleness and deftness. I am thankful for his care and craft as a writer and editor. In this edition of the Ministry Minded podcast, I get the privilege to talk with Samuel D. James about the world of Christian publishing and fundamental ironies of “living little” in an online world.


Why Panic Won’t Save Us,” Samuel D. James 

Things I Learned as a Pastor’s Kid,” Samuel D. James 

The Beauty of a Little Life,” Samuel D. James 

Is Reality Only for the Privileged?,” Samuel D. James 

Why Facebook Failed,” Samuel D. James 

The Outer Ring,” Samuel D. James 

To survive our high-speed society, cultivate ‘temporal bandwidth’,” Alan Jacobs 

Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis 

Grace: So Much More Than You Know and So Much Better Than You Think, Brad J. Gray 


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Samuel James hails from Wheaton, Illinois where he lives with his wife Emily and son Charlie. There he serves as an acquisitions editor for Crossway. Samuel is a prolific writer, with essays featured on a number of online publications, including: First Things, The Gospel Coalition, National Review, Mere Orthodoxy, and Desiring God. You can also find his work at the blog where he serves as editor, Letter & Liturgy. His essays regularly discuss prescient matters within social and evangelical life, especially where theology, media, and everyday life intersect. Be sure to keep up with him on Twitter, @samueld_james.


Ad music: “Coffee Stains” by Finley, licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Intro music: “West Coast” by Ryan Little, licensed under CC BY 4.0.