Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Next Story

The Next Story, Tim Challies

As I mentioned a month ago, I have been listening to a audio book by Tim Challies called The Next Story. Subtitled Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion, he explains how and why our society has become reliant on digital technology, what it means for our lives, and how it impacts on Christian faith.

It has been a fascinating read (or listen!).

So much so that I am going to dedicate a series of posts to it, to raise some issues and think about them. If you read this blog, you are an online person who probably uses much of the digital technology that is available today from Facebook & Twitter to iPods, iPhones and iPads; from eBay to blogger; from mobile phones to laptops to xBox. But do you think about the role of technology at all from a Christian perspective? Do you even know how to do so?
What does theology have to do with technology? More than you might think... We are looking for that sweet spot where our use of technology is not just thoughtful and informed, but it is informed by the bible, by an understanding of God’s purpose for technology. In that place of thoughtful technological discernment we live in light of what we know to be true about technology, what we know to be true about ourselves and what we know to be true about the God who made us. (Introduction, 16:30*).
There are a number of ways Christians can deal with technology:
  1. Embrace it – enthusiastically and unthinkingly. Yet this lacks discernment.
  2. Strict separation – see all digital as dangerous enemy. Yet this is not realistic.
  3. Be a discerning Christian
A Christian looks carefully at the new realities, ways and evaluates them and educates himself, thinking deeply about the potential consequences and effects of using a particular technology. Through it all, even as he is using a specific technology, he disciplines himself to be discerning, to embrace what can be embraced and to reject what needs to be rejected… he relies on the Holy Spirit who speaks his wisdom through the bible to learn how he can live with virtue in this new digital world. (19:30)
The rest of the book provides a history of technology, how it has changed the world and how as Christians we can think about and evaluate the benefits and risks for our Christian growth and maturity in technology.

Some things to think about:
  • Do you embrace technological advances? Are you one of the first to get the new latest gadget? What risks do you face with this?
  • Do you shun technology? Avoid it wherever possible? What are the risks with this?
  • Do you stop to think about what a new technology might do both to advance the kingdom of God and to stifle it?

* Sorry, can’t tell you page numbers, just time on the audio chapter!

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