I had the opportunity on Easter Sunday to appear on CBS Sunday Morning for a segment on Faith & Technology (link to video). The segment discussed how technology is impacting faith. CBS filmed at the Christian Web Conference, did a day of interviews and then visited Kaleo Church . In the session they filmed, the Future of the Web & Church we had a conversations on several topics related to faith & technology, including:
– Does reading the Bible in a digital format impact our spiritual development? How? Will this change for future generations of ‘digital natives’?
– To what extent can we use online tools in discipleship?
– Would Jesus be on Facebook or other social media? (Note: My position is that he would not.)
– How does our theology of presence impact the future of the church?
Overall, it was a lively conversation and we only got through the above four topics before time ran out (I had a total of 12 I wanted to hit. Ambitious). If you have not attended this conference, I highly recommend it to everyone. I’m amazed at the consistent high quality of thought-provoking conversations.
There are a number of great books now released & coming out addressing faith & tech, that I would encourage you to pick up.
1. The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion – An excellent book on examining how technology impacts our faith & how we as Christians should view it.
Product Description: 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.
2. From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology
– A view of technology from within the Biblical story of redemption.
Product Description: Where does technology belong in the biblical story of redemption? Believers and unbelievers alike are saturated with technology, yet most give it little if any thought. Consumers buy and upgrade as fast as they can, largely unaware of technology’s subtle yet powerful influence. In a world where technology changes almost daily, many are left to wonder: Should Christians embrace all that is happening? Are there some technologies that we need to avoid? Does the Bible give us any guidance on how to use digital tools and social media?
An experienced Web developer and writer on technology and culture, John Dyer answers these questions and more by walking through the story of the Bible and introducing key ideas about how technology and culture interact. Dyer first analyzes the biblical, theological, and philosophical foundations of technology and then studies several examples that show how technology can influence the spiritual life. For youth pastors, college-aged readers, and anyone interested in understanding how technology fits with faith, From the Garden to the City fills a gap for biblically-informed literature in a technological world.
3. Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith – For the last few years, I’ve been arguing that we need to develop a theology of presence as we become more digital in our encounters and as future generations feel more connected to location & people through technology. Matt hits this topic and others in a timely book
Product Description: Our bodies matter. Christians today sometimes forget this, dangerously ignoring the importance of their physical selves when it comes to technology, sexuality, worship, and even death. Anderson’s book will help readers learn what the Bible says about our bodies and grow to appreciate the importance of embodiment in our spiritual lives. It will also explore generational differences when it comes to how we perceive and use our bodies. Just as Christ’s body was crucial to our salvation, our own bodies are an important part of the complete Christian life.