Book Update: From the Garden to the City

I’d like to thank all of you who’ve been asking about how my book was coming along and who’ve been praying for me as I write it. Now here’s a little update.

Release Date, Title, and Cover

The release date is set for August 1, 2011 which means that it should show up in Amazon in late April for preorders.

And the official title of the book is From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology. My original title was From the Garden to the City: The Place of Technology in the story of Redemption, but my publisher (Kregel) felt the other subtitle would be a bit stronger on a bookshelf.

I recently created a little personal website http://j.hn/ where I’ll be putting links and more information as it comes available from the publisher.

We’re currently sending out galleys (review copies) to publishing houses, magazines, potential endorsers, and a few friends from whom I wanted to get feedback.  I’ll be making some tweaks the last two weeks of March and then it’s done from my end. The hard work of a designer turning the photo you see below into a real book will happen over the summer.

What’s It About?

Originally, I had no plans to write a book. I wanted to do research on technology and theology for my Ph.D. and use this blog as my outlet for popular level writing. But one day a publisher called me up and asked if I would submit a book proposal. My initial response was that I’d like to read for another year or so before I feel like I could submit something worthwhile. But they asked again saying that I could submit a basic chapter outline and then I could change it later as I started writing.

So my original proposal was do to the book roughly in thirds. The first third would cover major philosophical and theological thinkers on technology, the middle would look at the Bible, and the final part would apply those to contemporary issues. The accepted the proposal, and then I spent six months trying to make it work. But it just didn’t, and I kept trashing chapter after chapter (at one point I was going to turn it into a story where we went back in time and … I hope no one ever finds that draft).

Sometime last summer, I decided that a better outline would be to retell the story of the Bible and the role technology plays in each of its major chapters: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. Then in between those chapters, I ask a related philosophical question about the nature of technology. After finishing up Revelation, I then spent a few chapters  seeing how what we learned in the Biblical story plays out in the Industrial age and the Electronic age.

Once it was all written the book turned out to be less about specific technologies like Facebook, Twitter, and iPhones (although those are touched upon in multiple places) and more the relationship between being God’s image bearers and the creation and use of technology. Although that means its more theological and philosophical than directly practical, it’s still written in the style of this blog which I hope is informal, accessible, and helpful to the church at large. I’m also glad to see excellent books like Tim Challies’ The Next Story which does an outstanding job of more directly addressing the electronic age.

Before I began writing, I had seen Rowan Williams statement that, “you only discover what you have to say in the doing of it,” but now I know he was right. It is quite surreal to see firsthand just how radically a book can evolve as one writes it. I can only pray that this was in part due to the Spirit’s guidance.

As soon as it starts coming online book stores and such I’ll be sure to let you all know. Thanks again for your encouragement and prayers.

Published by

John Dyer

In my day job, I work at Dallas Theological Seminary, and at night I write Bible software for countries whose leaders could be called "overlords." This one time, I wrote a book about technology and Christian faith. You can find out more about what I'm up to at http://j.hn/.

27 thoughts on “Book Update: From the Garden to the City”

  1. John,
    Particularly interested in your findings on how biblical authors presented actors’ interactions with various technologies. Also, interested in any findings regarding how “emergent” these technologies were. This may, or may not, be revealed in the book, but I’m still quite interested in this area.

    Thanks!

  2. Very excited about the book! I appreciated your input on my paper regarding social media and the Tower of Babel for the regional ETS meeting I presented at a year or so ago. I’m eager to see if it touches on any that topic.

  3. Congrats…What about the emergence of MMORPGs like WoW? Just kidding, brother. I remember going to your house and that being up on the computer back in the day. This sounds very impressive. Stumbled here via fb. Put that in your book.

  4. Did you do research with Jacques Ellue, William Barret, Martin Heidegger, who are well known Philosophers on Technology? These men have written scholarly texts on this subject if you are not recognizing the info already out there then it will not hold water with the general public. I am a Christian too and want you to be credible.

  5. I like your topic and have been changed by the new technology; we can get the best price and order almost anything on line.

  6. Normally if you eat tiny pellets your own score rise by a
    single, but as soon as you activate compromise your report will be enhanced by two instead of 1 .
    Like if you take in 10 tissue then your last score could well be 10X2=20 rather of 10X1=10.

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