The next Story: Life and faith after the digital revolution by blogger Tim Challies is a masterpiece. This is a very important book that must be read and prayerfully considered. Challies is literally pointing out the air we all breathe…of which most of us are either unaware of, or would rather not think about it. What is that air? Technology…social media…new forms of communication…the internet.
Challies takes time to point out the development of technology over the last 20 years or so and look at the motives behind the technology we have and why we use it. After tracing the rise and development of technology he delves into the area’s of communication, mediation, identity, distraction, authority and privacy.
He looks into Wikipedia and change in how we percieve truth; multiple devices in our homes and how that effects our ability to love our families and think deeply about God; and how we have started to see information as wisdom, among other iggues. With each issue he ends with practical advice and searching questions
Three things about Challies make this book brilliant: Firstly, he is a great writer who researches what he says, presents it clearly, but writes with a fluidity and creative flair. Secondly, he has a good theological mind and uses the Bible well. Thirdly, he is a professional web designer and one of the most prolific bloggers around, which means he knows and lives what he is teaching.
I loved that he could say that technology was morally neutral, but our hearts and the motives of the creators are what needs to be checked. Thus he avoided being a Luddite (which he explains) and stayed away from legalism. However, he was very specific with his examples and insights.
This book will have a short shelf life as many of the examples, companies and technologies will date quickly and so while the principles and theory will still be relevant, reading it in about 5 years time will seem odd.
‘Technology presents us with a unique spiritual challenge. Because it is meant to serve us in fulfilling our created purpose, because it makes our lives easier, longer, and more comfortable, we are prone to assign to it something of a godlike status. We easily rely on technology to give our lives meaning, and we trust technology to provide an ultimate answer to the frustration of life in a fallen world. Because of this, technology is uniquely susceptible to becoming an idol, raising itself to the place of God in our lives.’
‘Maybe, just maybe, we have become slaves to our own devices. Maybe we haven’t considered the consequences of the digital revolution, much less that ways it’s impacting our faith.’
WHO SHOULD READ THIS BOOK
Those who use social media and smart phones. This book has shaken me…My heart has been exposed and I don’t like what I find. I genuinely never realised how spiritually significant social media and technology are. If you own a blackberry/iPhone, tweet, use facebook or write a blog, read this book.
Parents of teenage children need to read this. I would hazard a guess and say that you have no idea what technology is doing to your child biologically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. But you probably think I’m wrong…I’m not! Read this book.
Here is the video advert:
Here is a video of Challies explaining the book: