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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a most important book for our times, 21 Nov 2012
This review is from: The Scent of Lemons (Paperback)
My son is 27 years old. I see him now and again for Sunday lunch etc. And in between lulls in the conversation he is always tapping at his mobile telephone. He lives in two realities, or so it seems. This book is the bridge between him and I. Me with my old world sympathies, him with his interest in gadgets and new technologies. It shows us how we can both get on in a modern world full of diversions. Quite simply brilliant. Well done the author!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ideas on how virtual contact relates to human contact, 22 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Scent of Lemons (Paperback)
Do you still read from left to right or do you treat book pages like web pages and look all over to glean what you can? Internet use is making enormous impact on human skills so studies that illuminate this are timely. Those who say `See you on Facebook' rather than down the pub are living differently. If virtual contact serves human contact it is no substitute.

Such thoughts are marshalled by technophile priest Jonah Lynch under a title that applauds the touch, scent and taste of lemons, three senses that cannot be transmitted by technology. Based in Rome Lynch tells of how his attempt to care for lemon trees brought to light an impatience bred from his involvement in the speedy processes of electronic technology. Such involvement builds us as hunters searching for data but detracts from the patient and deep attention required as in farming. Attention is an extraordinary and vital tool of the human spirit. Its diffusing and fragmenting among internet users is of great concern.

Lynch celebrates the way his missionary order has effortless international conferences on the internet. All such good virtual contact brings an inevitable `disincarnating' through the nature of net relationships. Laughing among friends bears no comparison with writing `hahahaha' on a chat screen. The internet is guilty of an extreme materialisation, as in pornography. `After having reduced the infinite beauty of loving relationships to a pure physical mechanism, we are decomposing them into the banal virtuality of a group of pixels on a back-lit screen'. A recently opened clinic for internet addicts tackles five online addictions: pornography, gambling, information overload, social networks and role-playing games.

Where is God in this? `The human person made in the image and likeness of the One and Triune God is made for communion. This explains the extraordinary growth of Facebook, which interprets this ultimate desire. But what does Facebook do with it? Friends become a quantity...close friends, simple acquaintances, and ex-girlfriends are all on the same level.' Lynch reflects further on the harshness of the internet. Like the mind of God it records everything but unlike a merciful God can use memory of every detail against us even when we lament of our errors.

The book ends with illustrations of how the author, a seminary Rector, employs forms of `technological fast' to help his ordinands build their prayer life and friendships. Interpersonal relationships in the flesh, small and local communities, are seen as the key to human and church vitalisation, to be served and not replaced by virtual networking. The book ends rather in the air. Having presented the technological crisis so vividly, few answers are provided. This is both indicative of how new the challenge is and also a timely incentive to personal and corporate reflection and action to master technology before it masters us.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A present for my wife..., 7 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Scent of Lemons (Paperback)
This was something that my wife wanted. She's not much time for reading, but has enjoyed it so much that she can't recommend it to enough people !!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars another way and connectedness, 4 Mar 2013
By 
J. DOUGLAS "Johnny Douglas" (Nr London, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Scent of Lemons (Paperback)
Our modern technologies offer the mirage that real life can be had in 'point and click' isolation, despite our guts tell us something different. We long to connect, to belong, to give and take, even to shout, muddle and disagree...... things that only happen in the messy world of relationships and communities.

Whether there is freedom or bondage experienced through the addictive nature of Facebook and it's endless stream of media offerings. Here is is central to the engagement about social compulsions in Jonah Lynch's continuation of the prophetic work of Henri Nouwen. With so much on offer, Lynch navigates the inherent folly of letting technology prescribe the terms and conditions of our lives. At the heart of Lynch's writing is the penetrating truth that three of five senses; touch, scent and taste cannot ever be engaged with by technological means.

Mythology, research and reflection are well woven here in a great write about the gains and challenges of the technological gifts of our age, in this insightful new book. Masks are removed through the unveiling of detail, aching truth, raw implications and inevitable addictions. These are all laid bare. My only gripe is that by the time we strike chapter nineteen Jonah Lynch might have offered us more than just a technological fast, as a remedy in the face of available in our pacey, all-access culture. There is much of beauty and another kingdom in the closing words; "power is love."

This pacey, incisive, compact book offers much. As Lynch invites, "Being is gift, not robbery. Being is love."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding little book provoking discussion we can't ignore, 28 Feb 2013
This review is from: The Scent of Lemons (Paperback)
Jonah Lynch deserves credit for not preaching on either side of the debate between technophiles and those living in a new virtual reality. But rather opening up a debates and dialogue on an issue that we should all be considering in this changing world; How does this changing world change how we interact, how we form and maintain relationships and ultimately who we are. Excellent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent reflection on the role of technology in our lives, 21 Feb 2013
This review is from: The Scent of Lemons (Paperback)
In this book Lynch surveys many of the issues concerning our relationship to technology, in particular the increasing role of the internet and social networking in people's lives. The premise is that tools like the internet are not neutral, in that the user is not in complete control of them; instead, there is an interaction between tool and user. Tools affect the user even as they use them - this is obvious when you think about human evolution; Lynch does right to project this onto modern technology.
This is not a tiresome or hysterical "the internet is evil"-type read, but a much more considered meditation on how we are literally changed by technology. Probably the most interesting sections look at how the multitasking afforded by smart phones and laptops etc. actually alters neuronal connections in the brain. Confirming many people's fears, the ability to concentrate deeply is being reduced by online diversions. The book also reminds us that digital objects are representations of the 'real thing' and considers the meaning of this. The dark implications of the mismatch between your digital and actual self are looked at too.
Highly thought-provoking and definitely recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Scent of Lemons, 20 Feb 2013
This review is from: The Scent of Lemons (Paperback)
The Scent of Lemons: Technology and relationships in the age of Facebook written by Jonah Lynch and published by Darton, Longman, and Todd (2012) is eloquently written. The flow of the writing entices you in and paints an almost romantic picture of our relationship with technology. The Internet and in particular social media, be it Facebook, twitter, or indeed blogging, have changed our world in the way we communicate; so to has the introduction of the mobile phone. The book has an interesting title and to explain why it was chosen Lynch writes in his preface:

'But what do lemons have to do with technology? A lemon fresh from the tree has a rough skin. The better the tree has been cared for, the rougher it is. It's a strange roughness, because if you squeeze a little, a perfumed oil comes out and makes the skin suddenly smooth to the touch. And then there's that wonderful sour juice, so good on fish and oysters, in summertime drinks and in a hot cup of tea! Touch, scent, taste. Three of the five senses cannot be transmitted through technology. Three-fifths of reality, sixty per cent.'

Lynch invites us to notice and give time to developing the remaining sixty per cent in our own relationships. He argues, there is a parental and older sibling responsibility to notice and reflect on the changes the internet brings to our relationships and society, to see the warning signs and offer guidance to those caught up in the change who have no experience of a pre-internet age. So how has technology, and in particular the internet, profoundly influenced every part of our daily lives? This needs more unpacking by Lynch to support his thesis of how it has changed relationships. Those of us who are already somewhat addicted to social media, writing a status update or tweeting our every move, may already know but there is still a readership who do not understand social media and if they are to offer guidance to their children they need educating.

Lynch writes from a Christian perspective and calls for a life balance where technology is embraced but social media, and the like, does not dominate relationships or replace face to face meetings. In the chapter 'A Nerd's Life' Lynch talks of his experience and love of technology, as well as his sense of responsibility as an educator and priest to reflect and share his concerns. For example, his concern for his work habits: its fast pace, the immediate response of email, and distraction in prayer. (Prayer requires a much slower rhythm of life and God's response cannot be hurried.) As well as the intrusion of mobile phone calls that have invaded places of relaxation, such as train journeys and the theatre, and sacred spaces such as the church. A 'technology fast' is one of the tools he offers to help safeguard relationships and one that Lynch advocated to students of his seminary. Having recently trained for Baptist ministry, alongside Anglican ordinands, I do not think a complete 'technological fast' would be practically possible, but I like the concept.

As someone who loves well written books and social media I enjoyed The Scent of Lemons. It is however, more of an overview of the subject matter, rather than an in-depth unpacking of Lynch's thesis. I hope Lynch continues to explore and write more on what he acknowledges are, 'his incomplete thoughts.' With social media still in its infancy opportunity presents itself for further study in this particular area. Psalm 34 says, 'Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.' Lynch calls the world to wake up and smell the lemons before we loose our senses. A timely written book.
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The Scent of Lemons
The Scent of Lemons by Jonah Lynch (Paperback - 16 Nov 2012)
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