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.
Insightful. Had I read it in 2011, the material would have been new to me. Still, helpful.
- Excellent book for discovering the biblical principles behind our technology
This is a really thought-provoking book for helping Christians discover the biblical principles behind modern technology. Many of the questions that I have consciously and subconsciously wrestled with over the past few years were brought up and answered in this book. My only complaint is that in the last chapter, as Challies lays out his family technology plan (a plan for helping parents keep their children out of trouble on the Internet), he becomes uncharacteristically legalistic, relying on strict regulations to keep straying hearts and minds under control. His approach seems to be to force standards on kids rather than to train kids to love the standards because the standards are good. But that's only the last chapter. The rest is great.
- A warning bell for technology enthusiasts like me
This book is for you if you are a technology enthusiast - if you dream of the mobiles and gadgets and stay up-to-date with the most current gadgets in the market. This excellent book presents a Christian perspective on technology, its benefits and hidden dangers, and some practical advice on how to look at and use technology prudently. It has exposed some of my areas of weaknesses with respect to the use of electronic gadgets. Thanks, Tim.
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- Every 1st world Christian should read this!
I had the privilege of listening to this book through the reviewer program on Christian Audio
How does the digital technology of today effect our lives, our families, our time and interests. Do we have more time now or less? Is there any virtue in all the information we are gathering. And from a Christian perspective, how does the growing rate of technology effect out work with God? Does it improve it or deplete it? Can Christians embrace technology and still bring glory to God, or do they run the risk of making technology an idol?
What about the future? How can we cope to the changing rate of change? What will Churches look like if they embraced this technology? Should Churches embrace technology?
What is truth? Is the essence of definition of truth being altered through the technology and media work?
How can you respond? How can you keep in touch with the changing world and so be relevant to those we are reaching out to, but at the same time live a holy Christian life?
I know that there are many questions above. Questions that you may or may not have pondered. Tim Challis addressed each of these questions - and many more, helping his readers to think through these issues, and deals with them from the point of view of a Christian who lives in the midst of digital age.
The book was personally helpful for me to understand the extent that technology permeates my life, and my responses to it that I had never considered before.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who calls themselves a Christian and who wants to be relevant to those around them without falling into the trap of making technology an idol.
I thought the narrator was not very convinced about what he was reading though, and came across as disinterested. Pronunciation was also a bit off at times.
- Excellent Help for Discerning Technology
I finished the Christian Audio version of The Next Story by Tim Challies about a week ago. It took me longer than normal to get through this audio book, but not because of the book. My phone's ability to read the memory card, where I put my audio books so I can listen to them while on the road, stopped working. I had to listen to this entire book during spare moments of time in the morning and afternoon.
The Next Story attempts to combine a discussion of technology with the elements of true spiritual discernment. In other words, Tim Challies helps his readers "think through" technology. Instead of simply purchasing and using new technology with possibly only a thought as to its price, he urges an evaluation of technology's history, usefulness, affects, side-affects, and connection to the gospel.
I found this book to be very helpful in my own life. There were aspects of technology that I had never considered; aspects concerning its affects on my brain and its affects on my spiritual life. I especially enjoyed the flow of thought from discerning and understanding technology and its history in the first part of the book to the connections between our communication and our modern technology from a Biblical perspective in the second part of the book.
If you want to be a person who really thinks about their technology and doesn't simply consume and incorporate new technologies into their life without thinking, then this is the book for you.
- it was interesting and made me look at my habits.
Listening to "The Next Story", was a good thing. I would probably not have listened to or read it if it wasn't part of the free downloads.
This book was able to point out how technology overtakes our time, promising to help us do more. However, as Charles points out, we end up reacting to beeps and buzzed all day, essentially getting less done than before. On top of that we have left a permanent trail in our wake of playing with technology.
I am more aware about the full truth of technology, but it will take time to incorporate changes into my life.
- very interesting
lots of hidden treasures in this book,
now i/m triing not to get cought up in this worlds technology unless for gods purposes!
so easy to get carried away without even knowing its happening.
- eye opening
eye opening, or in my case, ear opening. this booked sparked personal revelation for me. highly recommend to anyone that sleeps with a blackberry on their night-stand.
- The devil is in the details
We are influenced by our environment daily. The internet and technology have increased the pace of this influence.
This book does an excellent job of pointing out several ways that technology and the internet have changed our lives in many cases to our detriment without us even realizing that it is happening.
He talks about how we used to talk to each other face to face, then by phone, now by texting losing the intimacy of face to face thoughtful communication. He talks about pantheism entering our lives through media (eg., Avatar). We are moving toward "inventing our personality and beliefs" on websites like facebook, myspace, etc. We can create a persona that we want on the internet (eg., a son's failed marriage with a woman he met and courted on the internet). Our source of truth is changing. We used to look to the Bible, wise learned men and women but are moving fast to considering truth to be the what the majority thinks is true (eg., wikipedia).
Great book. I highly recommend that you download it.
- MUST READ, great book!
This is a great book, with good insight on the digital world's impact on people, figuring out how to use it all for God's glory, and more. Well worth reading-every person who owns any form of today's media (HA-that would be ALL of us!) ought to read it and it should be mandatory reading for students too!
- Raises good questions. I have some different answers but the questions are good.
First, I think that while there are some issues I disagree with, I think this is a book that needs to be read by almost everyone that wants to think seriously about how we as Christians interact with culture, technology, transition and faith. Even when I disagree with him on some issues, I think he is respectful of the subject, is consistant theologically and he is pastorally and practically focused.
Second, I found it very helpful that Challies takes the important step of removing sin from objects. There is no technology that he wants to say “that is evil”. Evil or sin is about the human response, not the object itself. But he wants to help us think more deeply about how objects have tendencies that are often rooted in their original design purpose. His first example of this is the cell phone. Cell phones were primarily created for and sold initially to business that wanted to keep their staff (mostly sales) in contact with the home office. They were designed to make you more available than you really wanted to be and to be intrusive. Now that everyone has one, they continue to be intrusive and many people talk about how you are always available whether you want to be or not. (We can just turn them off, but we rarely take that option.)
Some of the most helpful portions of the book are the advice sections. These primarily are questions about how much we control (and actually take control) of our stuff and how much our stuff controls our lives. I play at the park all the time with my two nieces, and most of the adults are on cell phones most of the time (myself included). I also think there is a very interesting section on the difference between Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom. I come down differently than Challies in this section, but the discussion is very useful.
There are several places where I strongly disagreed, but I think that those points are focused on the difference in our theology. He is reformed, I am not. We have different conceptions of Authority, Truth, the place of creativity in relation to the Fall and a few other minor points. But even when I disagree I think the questions he raises are useful and help to contribute to the discussion.
- Didn't do much for me...
As someone who finds blogging and Facebook and the like to be inane, dull and soul-less, I had a hard time getting into this text, especially when early into the text Challie's presents a somewhat sloppy exegesis of the creation mandate from Genesis (Tim referrs to this in the past tense - "was" - and I'm pretty sure this mandate was never rescended. He'd benefit from a reading of Psalm 127:5 in the ESV...) Other than christian tech I'd rather hear better expositional teaching as a much more enriching experience.
For me personally there just wasn't that much to take away. It was interesting, yet ultimately it was a work that required a lot of energy to complete with very little gain.
- Awesome Book
This book was very helpful, it pointed out some things I really didn't see. But felt on a deeper level. If you have a computer, mp3 player, gaming console or a smart phone this is a must read. If you have children who have any of these you need to read this today!
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