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    Plough Quarterly No. 40: The Good of Tech

    Summer 2024


    Featured Articles

    All Articles

    From the Editor

    The Artificial Pancreas How can we live well with technology?


    From Scrolls to Scrolling in Synagogue The way we read scripture has changed. Or has it? Computers Can’t Do Math The human mind is a marvel that no machine has matched. The Tech of Prison Parenting Even a little technology can make a big difference. Will There Be an AI Apocalypse? Marshall McLuhan and Romano Guardini say it’s already here. Taming Tech in Community How the Bruderhof community tries to be intentional about personal technology. Tech Cities of the Bible Our struggle with technology starts in Genesis. Give Me a Place An East Tennessee farmer praises a simple piece of technology. ChatGPT Goes to Church Should large language models write sermons and prayers? Toward a Gift Economy Some goods and services have value beyond their market price.


    Masters of Our Tools Four writers reflect on the purpose and power of technology.


    Poem: “Blackberry Hush in Memory Lane” Read the poem that won Plough’s 2024 Rhina Espaillat Poetry Award. Poem: “A Lindisfarne Cross” It begins with what is broken, cast off, abandoned... Poem “Fingered Forgiveness” The poet tells a story of forgiveness. God’s Grandeur: A Poetry Comic A comic artist illustrates Gerard Manly Hopkin’s classic poem.

    Editors’ Picks

    Birding Can Change You In Birding to Change the World, Trish O’Kane describes how birding changed her life following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Disability in The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store As a deaf reader, I was drawn toward the portrayals of disability in James McBride’s blockbuster novel, though, as in life, the results are an uneven weave. In Praise of Excess In All Things Are Too Small, Becca Rothfeld makes the case for a more infinite view of the world and rejects the smallness and minimalism of the current age.

    Family and Friends

    Loving the University At Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, an uncommon community is growing. Locals Know Best Inspired by the Psalms, Loom International supports local organizations in the developing world. A Word of Appreciation We farewell our poetry editor A. M. Juster.


    Gerhard Lohfink: Champion of Community We don’t follow Jesus alone.

    Community Snapshot

    When a Bruderhof Is Born What’s it like to be a young person in a young community?


    Readers Respond Readers respond to Plough’s Spring 2024 issue, The Riddle of Nature.


    A Church in Ukraine Spreads Hope in Wartime A Christian community cares for its children and neighbors.


    Send Us Your Surplus South Sudan’s kids thank you for that shipment of hip-joint ball bearings.


    Peter Waldo, the First Protestant? Several centuries before Luther, a reformer and his band of itinerant preachers rattled the church.

    Covering the Cover

    Covering the Cover: The Good of Tech This issue's cover shows humans who are interacting with technology, rather than being enslaved by it.

    Featured Authors

    painting of two boys and their mother

    About This Issue

    These days, the heady promises of Silicon Valley seem suspect: the internet didn’t bring all of humanity together; neither did smartphones or social media. We have long since stopped associating tech with utopian visions of global harmony, instead blaming it for distraction, polarization, addictions to porn and gambling, the trivialization of culture, loss of privacy and work-life balance, and fears that automation may push millions out of a job. Advances in artificial intelligence seem poised to bring us to the next technological watershed. It’s a good time to ask how we can learn to live well with tech, and how we might push back against technologies that shape humans in anti-human ways.