Three Free Copies of Tim Challies “The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion”

As the co-author of 13 words in Tim’s new book, I’m very happy that he, with his skill as a writer, his experience as a web designer, and his deeply informed, discerning faith, wrote the other 60,000.

A Brief Review

That’s the tongue-in-cheek endorsement I wrote for Tim Challies‘ new book The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion (amazon | wtsbooks | Tim’s book page). Tim has indeed put together a helpful, balanced book that addresses a wide range of important questions that Christians must grapple with in today’s social media, always-on, hyper-connected world.

But don’t worry. This isn’t a hit-and-run on Facebook, Twitter, or the iPhone, blaming them for every problem we have today. Tim is a careful thinker who runs one of the most heavily trafficked Christian blogs in the world, and he brings this discernment and experience together to guide believers on they can thoughtfully approach technology.

Throughout the book, Tim offers three lens through which we can view technology: theology, theory, and experience. In the category of theology, Tim applies the timeless wisdom of the Scriptures to the unique challenges we face today. But Tim also draws from the varies theories of technology to help us see things about technology that aren’t always obvious. Finally, Tim is not merely a person who writes critically about technology, he actually uses it everyday, and his experience makes the book helpful and sincere.

The book is laid out in two parts. In part 1, Tim gives an introduction to the way he approaches technology and lays out some basic principles and theory about how technology works. Then in part 2, he applies these ideas to specific areas of life such as communication, community, distraction, information overload, truth and authority, and privacy. At the end of each of these chapters, there are reflective questions for individual readers that will also work well for groups.

If you’re interested in a deeply Christian understanding of modern technology, I’d highly recommend you pick up a copy of Tim’s book.

Note: a few people have asked me how Tim’s book differs from my own, and the short answer is that they emphasize different subject matter and are very complimentary. Tim spends the majority of the book doing deep into issues that we face in the Digital/Information Age, whereas I spent a large portion of mine working through the place of technology in the God’s overall plan of redemption and then apply that to modern issues toward the end of the book.

Three Free Copies

I like Tim’s book so much that I’ve purchased three copies from the Westminster Bookstore to give away. To enter to win the book, leave a comment that includes two things (1) a question or area of life you hope the book will help you better understand, [edit: on second thought, don’t worry about doing this second one. Just leave a comment to enter] (2) a post you liked from this blog (which hopefully favors regular readers).

The last day to enter will be Monday, April 4, 2011.

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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/.

37 thoughts on “Three Free Copies of Tim Challies “The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion””

  1. From the book, I would like to find greater understanding of the dynamic relationship between the digital explosion of technology and the reign of “technique” over humanity. One more recent post that I enjoyed was Martin Buber on Beautiful Girls vs. Sexy Gadgets and an older post (that I had to search for) was Defining the Word Technology Four Times.

    Thanks for your blog. Good luck with your book.

  2. 1) To explore best ways to redeem social media for ministry
    2) Your recent post ‘Love Wins and Truth Prevails, But Speed Kills ‘em Both’ was very helpful and timely.

    Thanks!

  3. 1) I hope the book gives me an extra resource to compare how I’m affected by media & how it might shape those younger than me.
    2) I found your post of the new NIV changes very helpful and nice. I like the new NIV even though it’s not much different than the TNIV.

  4. 1) I’d like to gain insight into how people sitting in American churches are impacted by the connection to missionaries through technologies like facebook and twitter while also understanding how those missionaries who choose not to use the technology are then also appear in having made that decision. This is relevant because I help missionaries with technology in my role as geek missionary at Fellowship International Mission.

    2) “Are Chapter and Verse Numbers Making us Stupid?” – I had the same thought about chapter and verses, but now I find myself looking frequently for copies of scripture that don’t include them. The Message is the only one I have found so far as I don’t often get to browse stacks of Bibles.

  5. You said in your blog article entitled “Not Many of You Should Presume to Be Bloggers”:

    “What few of us realize is that when we press those ‘Publish’, ‘Post’, ‘Comment’, and ‘Send’ buttons, we are making the shift away from merely ‘believing’ truth and stepping into the arena of publishing that belief. In doing so we are effectively assuming a position of leadership and teaching that prior to 2004 was not available to us.”

    This article is what drew me to your blog and it so far is the one I like the best. And it’s theme is the reason I would love a copy of Tim Challies’ book. The more I participate in social media venues the more I find myself in a teaching positions with others who are new to it and do not seem to have a clue about how far their words will go. They don’t seem understand that once they hit the send button their words become feathers in the wind and will eventually land and be seen and read by someone who will form an opinion about them and the Christ they represent. A serious responsibility comes with the ability to publish your thoughts. Therefore I would love to have a copy of Tim’s book to inform me and help be become a better teacher.

  6. I’ve already got a copy of Challies’ book on order so I don’t need to be entered in the contest, but I thought I’d let you know that one of my favorite blog posts of your was the one were you took McLuhan’s tetrad and then gave it your own spin. McLuhan’s tetrad is vastly underrated in my opinion and is a very valuable tool for evaluating technologies. I was glad to see you giving it some attention.

    1. I totally agree. I’ve even tried to teach it to youth leaders to help them understand how to evaluate the constant new change of things. It helped some understand how it can be rude to both use and not text messaging in certain environments. The more things speed around, the more we need some structure to hang things on.

  7. The area of technology and spirituality is one that I am spending an increasing amount of time contemplating. I would like to see how Challies approaches the theology of the topic and in particular the ways in which the use of media forms us.

    Several of your posts that I like have been mentioned, but one I remember was “Tools for Tech Thinking: McLuhan on Twitter”, nice illustration of the theory.

  8. (1) I serve in a church that has, in the past, taken a fairly scattershot (unreflective?) approach to new media. Tim’s book should be a helpful resource in evaluating our motives and methods.

    (2) Your recent post connecting speech-act theory, Twitter, and Lent was profound. What hath linguistics to do with Web 2.0? Much in every way.

  9. 1) I hope that the book will help me to come up with some solid action steps for me regarding technology. RIght now I’m kind of waffling in the middle ground between knowing things and actually doing stuff with that knowledge ;)

    2) I particularly liked “How Roasting Coffee Helped Me Understand Technology and Theology” talking about Borgman’s device paradigm and “process”

  10. 1) How technology can help family dynamics and relationships instead of hindering them, which in my mind, they seem to do.
    2) “Is 30 the breaking point for technology?” Because a friend and I went through a list of things that fit those categories laughing at how true most of them were.

  11. Among other things, I’m looking forward to seeing how the book addresses some of the issues raised in your previous post, regarding discernment in using technology. I love to connect technology with theology but not every connection is appropriate (or wise).

  12. I am interested in how our information technology devices and media have shaped the way we understand communication, even communion with God. A rich and complex topic to begin with, it seems that to say information technology has not influenced how we understand communication with God, prayer in particular, would be naive. The same goes for meditation on the Lord, especially through time spent in the Word – can we sustain deep, prolonged contemplation of static, textually-based information (revelation)? Are we capable of prayer that is meaningful, patient, and persistent when there is no ‘bink’ sound to indicate receiving an answer? Are we able to focus on, even to grasp what ‘communication’ is with a God who ‘doesn’t answer back’ like the rest of our media does? These are just a few questions that arise when an entire generation (now almost two) is persistently plugged into, ‘podded up’ with, and up- or downloading the media which subsumes our every day.

  13. Contrary to what a lot of Christian writers seem to believe, I think actively using technology and social media can play a role in deepening our relationships with God and each other. I don’t think it can replace a healthy Christian community, but perhaps help develop and augment it. I’d be very interested to hear his thoughts and experience on how technology affects relationships and personal growth within the church.

  14. I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and scholarship regarding the issue of technology and hope you will keep it up. I might want to pick your brain sometime over coffee or lunch. I am a librarian at Dallas Baptist University.

  15. I’d like to learn more about “the artificiality” of digital technology – how it has changed the way we relate to each other and creation.

  16. To discern the value of using time to build relationships by social media outlets as opposed to “real life” face-to-face relationships (or at least a healthy interaction between the two).

  17. I hope to learn and grow in Christ through Challies’s book in the way of a life of balance between everyday mission, technology, and gospel relationships near and far.

    Thanks for the opportunity, John.

  18. I was quite excited to hear about “The Next Story,” in part because my book study group recently asked to do a study on Christianity and Technology – and I had thought my options were rather limited! If Challies’ book is as good as you and the excerpt suggest, it would keep us busy until your book is released. :)

  19. I’m just wondering if this new book, while I’m sure is fantastic, more or less just rehashes ideas from “Amusing Ourselves to Death” by Postman, only with an added theological emphasis on why technology has the possibility to destroy our souls, though as believers we know it is not the technology that is the issue, but the heart.

    Loved your thoughts on the “shiny” publish button, and I feel a bit dirty even posting a comment on here with those thoughts in mind.

    1. I supposed if you’re already familiar with Postman, much of it would be a re-hash. However, since most people aren’t aware of Postman I think it’s pretty valuable. Also, since Postman wasn’t thinking as a Christian he never really has anywhere hopeful to go with his observations about technology. Tim, however, is thinking and writing as a Christian, and I think he offers some helpful heart/mind guidance.

      Also, thanks for the kind words about the shiny buttons. But I don’t mean to indicate the commenting on a blog is bad or any worse than talking in person. What I mean to say is that when it comes to controversial subjects, people often allow the speed of the internet to influence their whether or not they say something and the tone with which they say it.

      So comment on, my friend!

  20. 1) I’m hoping that the book will help me in my continual pursuit to bring my use of technology more under the control of Christ (and thereby be able to disciple others to do so as well).

    2) I’ve liked a lot – Buber & Sexy Gadets is up there, as is your helpful post about having a Technology Basket in your home.

  21. I study digital Christianity (currently as a postdoc in Sweden, formerly in the UK), so I’m always interested in new publications explaining technology to believers. At least a dozen new books have come out on the subject in the last few years, but it looks like this one might be more informed and thoughtful than most.

    Do you think it adds anything new to the field, compared to, say, Jesse Rice (The Church of Facebook) or Shane Hipps (Flickering Pixels)?

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