Monday, May 30, 2011


Imagine living one week with no cell phone, no access to the internet, no email, no Facebook. No texting, no tweeting, no Googling. No blogs, no Skype, no chat. No Kindle, no GPS, no I-Tunes, no YouTube. Not even a stint on the PlayStation or X-Box.

No, really....stop and try to imagine a week without your technology. Would you feel relieved to go techno-free for a season? Or, would you feel terribly inconvenienced? Even worse, perhaps the thought of living without all your devices and connections triggers outright panic.

Do you own your devices and technological gizmos? Or do they own you?

Overwhelmed by the beeps, buzzes, and flickering screens of life in the digital age, Tim Challies asked himself these same questions. In the Introduction to his new book - The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion - Challies writes, "I began to wonder: Am I giving up control of my life? Is it possible that these technologies are changing me? Am I becoming a tool of the very tools that are supposed to serve me?"

In The Next Story, Challies thoughtfully examines both the benefits and the risks of the technologies and tools available to us today, and explores how we are to engage with our technology as Christians. "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."

After a quick overview of the development and progress of technology and its impact on us emotionally, physically, and spiritually, Challies looks at several areas of daily life particularly influenced by our use of technology: communication, identity/mediation, distraction, information, truth/authority, and visibility/privacy. I was personally challenged by the "Application" and "Questions for Reflection" sections at the end of each chapter - What does my computer's search engine say about me? Do I value having many shallow relationships over a few deep, meaningful relationships? Do I find it easier to relate to others through email or chat instead of face-to-face?

While the benefits of a certain technology are quickly discernible, we often snap up the latest device or gizmo with little or no thought to the risks or dangers associated with it. How will this technology help me? How might it hinder me - in my relationships, my use of time, my productivity? Given my sinful nature and the fact that I live in a fallen world, how might this technology foster idolatry in my heart or even become an idol itself?

Challies challenges Christians: our task is not to avoid technology, but to redeem technology. Rather than passively allowing technology to rule our lives, we are to deliberately, consciously, and conscientiously master our devices and our use of them.

If you email, text message, or Facebook, if you use a cell phone or GPS, if you are living life in the digital age - and you ARE - The Next Story will help you own your technology, instead of allowing your technology to own you.

To read a sample from The Next Story or to see a trailer for the book, click HERE.
To purchase your own copy, visit Westminster Books or Amazon or a bookstore near you!

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