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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book Review: "Digital Disciple"

TITLE: Digital Disciple - Real Christianity in a Virtual World
AUTHOR: Adam Thomas
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2011, (142pp)

This is a book written by a member of the Millenial generation using language that is familiar to the Millenial generation. As an ordained minister, the author bridges the ancient spiritual practices like the Lectio Divina, the prayers, and biblical background to apply them to the modern Internet era. Beginning with an overview of the Virtual World, he highlights both the power as well as the dangers of being connected online. On the one hand, he praises the reach that the Internet has enabled many people to be connected and not feel lonely at all. On the other hand, people can feel strangely disconnected despite having an online connection 24 hours a day. Since we cannot get rid of all the technological downsides, why not learn how to live with it as Christianly as possible? This is where the book fits.

Thomas is generous with his personal examples, from his gaming days, his seminary chapel experience, to how he meets his wife online. His frank manner of sharing gives this book a measure of authenticity. The author desires to inculcate an awareness of God when we go online in at least 6 ways.

  1. An emptiness that no technology can fill: One can be isolated despite being always 'connected'
  2. An awareness that we connect in order to progress toward community;
  3. An ability to use technology to bridge physical distances; even trans-social
  4. Embodying Christ, while in a disembodied world;
  5. Prayer is more than a google search
  6. Practice technological sabbaths regularly.

My Comments
I appreciate Thomas's book not just for highlighting the paradox of isolation and connection, but also for bridging the ancient practices with the contemporary cultural mood. We need reminders that technology may claim to do all, but not all they can do is for us. We need to be selective. We need to discern when to go online, and when to turn off our technology. The biblical examples in the book are well laid out to emphasize the importance of being biblical during our technological foray, especially through the social networking environment. Perhaps, the biggest reminder is to remind ourselves that 'technology' is not our new god. It is simply another tool to aid our connection with one another. Lose this awareness, and we will lose our sense of humanness: Meaningful connections with people beginning with God.

I recommend this book for the layperson in the Church, especially those who spend a lot of time online.

Ratings: 3.5 stars of 5.


This book has been supplied to me free as an Advanced Reader copy, courtesy of Abingdon Press. There is no obligation on my part to give a positive review. All opinions are freely mine.

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