Interview at ‘Church Marketing Sucks’

Just wanted to point you to an interview I did over at Church Marketing Sucks:

So why isn’t technology neutral? Doesn’t how we end up using technology matter more?

The reason so many people believe “technology is neutral” is that it’s so obviously true. Any tool, from an iPhone to a shovel, can be used for good things (like building orphanages) or bad things (like axe-murdering), but the tool itself is amoral. The problem is that, while this is certainly true, it’s only half the story. And half-truths are tricky because they often blind us from seeing more important things.

The “other half” most of us miss about technology is that tools transform us regardless of whether we use them for good or for evil. Whether I use my shovel to build that orphanage or go on an axe-murdering spree, I’ll end up with blisters on my hands from the shovel. And just as physical tools reshape our bodies, digital tools transform our minds. I can use Twitter to follow Christian pastors like John Piper and Rick Warren or mindless celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Snoop Dogg, but regardless of the goodness or badness of the content they tweet, my mind will be transformed such that it gains the skill of consuming enormous numbers of short sentences, but looses the ability to read a book for more than a 10 or 15 minutes without feeling distracted.

So, yes, how we use technology certainly does matter, but we also need to be aware of how technology is using (or transforming) us.

So if technology is changing us as a culture and a people, is that a good or a bad thing? And what do we do about it?

I don’t really think technology fits cleanly into categories of “good” or “bad.” Instead it’s about “change.” These changes bring enormous benefits many of which can further the kingdom of God, but those benefits come with downsides as well. For some, it’s tempting to ignore the unintended consequences and focus only on the wiz-bang coolness of the latest shiny gadget. For others, it’s easy to say every new technology is designed to destroy your soul, but ignore that God is just as active today as in every age.

Read the whole thing

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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

2 thoughts on “Interview at ‘Church Marketing Sucks’”

  1. Nice interview. I confess I totally missed the point of your blog entry’s title, though. I looked at the e-mail and thought, “did he do an interview with a group called ‘Church Marketing’ and he thinks he didn’t do a good job? Why would he refer us to that, then? Is he just a really transparent, honest guy? Is even a bad interview from John Dyer better than nothing at all?” Only when I came back to the e-mail later, did I figure out what was really going on! Almost like a church bulletin blooper.

  2. It’s sad that after multiple decades of image/TV centric culture (postmodernism) dismantling much of literature centric culture (modernism) during the last century. The best most churches did to challenge this (mostly destructive) movement was to turn their places of worship into glorified living rooms with couches, big screen TVs, and pathetic sermons fit for a canceled TV sitcom. I hope that most churches in the future can be more proactive and more intelligent when engaging and challenging the new altermodern (digitally connected and globally centric) culture which supplanted postmodernism over a decade ago with something far superior.

    One of the best things a church could do to help get caught up to speed in my opinion is read John Dyers new book. After that I suggest Nick Carrs ‘The Shallows’, Kevin Kelly’s ‘What Technology Wants’, and any book by the brilliant minds of the past like Marshall Mcluhan, Neil Postman, and G.K. Chesterton.

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