Even the least technical among us are being pressed from all sides by advances in digital technology. We rely upon computers, cell phones, and the Internet for communication, commerce, and entertainment. Yet even though we live in this “instant message” culture, many of us feel disconnected, and we question if all this technology is really good for our souls. In a manner that’s accessible, thoughtful, and biblical, author Tim Challies addresses questions such as: • How has life—and faith—changed now that everyone is available all the time through mobile phones? • How does our constant connection to these digital devices affect our families and our church communities? • What does it mean that almost two billion humans are connected by the Internet … with hundreds of millions more coming online each year? Providing the reader with a framework they can apply to any technology, Tim Challies explains how and why our society has become reliant on digital technology, what it means for our lives, and how it impacts the Christian faith.
Today, in our digital world, we spend much of our lives beyond Gibraltar, beyond accountability through visibility, able to say and do and look at and enjoy whatever our hearts desire. Yet for all the freedom it brings us, it can also bring us captivity. (pg. 68)
The Next Story is a look at our digital lives through a Biblical filter, a little dive into the histories that brought us to where we are plus a clear view of how we now communicate. Challies shares what the media explosion is doing to us as modern people and admonishes us to step back and give it some thought! In fact, the challenge really is to help us retain the ability to think deeply within the much fragmented pull of social media and the digital age.
If we are a distracted people, a distracted society, it stands to reason that we would also be a distracted church, a church with a diminished ability to think deeply, to cultivate concentration, to emphasize slow, deliberate, thoughtful meditation. (pg 116)
For me, the reflection on my habits and certain changes has been beneficial. For example, I began to ponder what I really want passed down to my children and am I living that. I also found myself slimming down my Google Reader to blogs that I know, people whom I have connected with online, ones that edify, and so forth. If I missed a day, I would open my reader to find 1,000+ posts to skim and often I would just peruse my favorite categories and dump the rest. This way, I now can skim the headings of worthy blogs and read the posts that I have time for that day. (I do still follow Missional Mama readers, so be sure and let me know that you do.)
The Next Story was a hefty undertaking for Tim Challies and one worthy of your time. If you are entranced by what the Internet and latest devises have to offer, perhaps this book would be a thoughtful meditation on the information overload we now face. I think it is imperative at this point in history for all of us to take a good look at how we use media and what it is doing to us and our families. How would we like to shape it instead of having it shape us?
This book was given to me in exchanged for my honest review.