Have you thought much about life and faith after the digital explosion? Since this is a blog about church technology, I thought it appropriate to read, review, and share about Tim Challies’ book entitled “The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion” This book is a fascinating read, filled with thought-provoking nuggets of wisdom about how technology fits into the life of a Christ-follower. Just when you thought God wasn’t looking when you were online, or in what church technology you use, now it’s time to reconsider how we perceive, use, and allocate technology in our lives from the ground up.
In reading Challies’ book, I highlighted some passages that I wanted to share with you. Of course, you do really need to read the entire book to understand all the points the author makes, but here are a selections of passages that leaped off the page and caused me to ponder my own use of technology both personally and professionally.
Many of us live in the experience circle, where we have never invested any significant effort in understanding the theory of technology and have never paused to even consider the theological dimension of technology. We use technology without thinking deeply about it, without really understanding what it is or how it impacts our lives and our hearts. (pp 14)
God calls us to use our minds, to use our Spirit-filled hearts, to distinguish between good and evil, between right and wrong, even in our use of technology. (pp. 16)
Definition of technology: Technology is the creative activity of using tools to shape God’s creation for practical purposes. (adapted from Responsible Technology by Stephen V. Monsma)
In a fallen world, technology enables human survival. It is all that stands between us and abject misery. (pp. 24)
Our idols like to hide from us, staying at a place in our hearts where we barely notice their existence. (pp. 28)
We may find ourselves drawn and even addicted to technology, unable to imagine life without it. (pp. 28)
Technology becomes an idol when we start to believe that humanity’s hope, humanity’s future, will be found in more and better technology. It become san idol when we place greater hope in technology than in God and when we measure human progress, not by the state of our hearts, but by new innovations in technology. (pp. 30)
. . . every technology brings with it both risk and opportunity. Every technology soles some problems while also introducing new ones; it opens up new opportunities even while imposing some new limitations. (pp. 36)
This (finding the message of technology) will require a humble willingness to evaluate our own lives and compare the ways we are being shaped by a given technology with the life God envisions for us in the Scriptures.” (pp. 39)
We find that most of our digital technologies are created to enhance our ability to communicate. (pp. 41)
. . . technology is not addictive but ecological, changing the very structure of life and society; that technology shifts power; and that technologies cause biological change as the human body adapts to its most important influences. (pp. 46)
We cannot afford to be so shallow as to think that we can enthusiastically embrace a new technology without eventually suffering from at least some of its drawbacks. (pp. 61)
Technology is generally created independently from the way it will eventually be used. (pp. 62)
Yet today many of us update our Facebook status and Twitter streams with near-religious fervor, almost as if we have not actually experienced anything until we’ve told others about it. (pp. 71)
As we may experience a vacation through the little LCD screen of a digital camera, we now experience much of life through social media. What we haven’t shared with the world seems like it has hardly been experienced at all. (pp. 71)
At a time when we are increasingly disconnected from place, a cell phone seems to represent home. As long as we have a phone, we can find and be found. (pp. 73)
Remember one of our key insights into technology: a technology wears its benefits on its sleeve–but the drawbacks are buried deep within. (pp. 74)
Studies now show that many young people are actually losing their ability to relate to one another in an offline context. (pp. 77)
In some contexts, digital communication has become the more
“natural” form of communication. (pp. 77)
The challenge for the Christian is to learn to use these media with all the opportunities they bring to speak and to tell of this God who speaks through us. We need to use our words to speak his words. (pp. 81)
Of the ideal means of communication between God and man is unmediated, so too is the ideal communication between humans. (pp. 94)
I hope you’ve found the nuggets I’ve share from Challies’ book interesting. If you are a church staff member, pastor, church technologist, communicator, or just a regular joe, I highly recommend “The Next Story” to add to your Kindle reading list!
Lauren Hunter is a writer who loves the big picture of God’s journey we are all on together. In 2007, she founded ChurchTechToday, a website for pastors and church leaders to harness technology to improve ministry. Married to her high school sweetheart, Lauren lives in Northern California with her husband and their four children. Her latest book is Leaving Christian Science: 10 Stories of New Faith in Jesus Christ. She can be found online at https://laurenhunter.net.