G’day, Tom here from Reformers Bookshop
with a Reformers Recommends. We live in a time that’s filled with technology
and media: we’ve got our phones with us all the time
most of us probably deal with computers on a daily basis and then there’s TVs,
movies, music… we’re flooded with media and technology. And, so, it’s really
important for us as Christians to think carefully about how we can redeem our
time and how we can renew our minds in the light of all of this media and
technology that surrounds us. And so I’ve got a few books here that we think are
particularly helpful to that end. The first three deal mainly with technology
itself. The first one that I want to show you is “12 Ways Your Phone is Changing
You” by Tony Reinke. (I think it’s *Reinke* [Pronunciation].) He is a brilliant writer, Tony,
I love reading his material because he’s so well researched, so biblical, and he is
very concise in bringing carefully thought-through insights throughout his
writing. And in this book he just gives you a dozen ways that your technology,
your phone in particular – your smartphone – is changing you, that, perhaps you didn’t
even realise. Some are obvious, some are a bit more surprising, but what’s so
helpful is that by reading this book, Tony will force you to stop and think about it,
and become more aware of how you’re being influenced and impacted by your
smartphone. And, hopefully, once you become aware, you can then be more deliberate
about being transformed into Christ’s image, and not the image of your phone.
The next book is “The Next Story” by Tim Challies. Now, this was written back…
really at the beginning of the the vast explosion of Technology and social media
and content that we see today: back in 2011. What’s remarkable about
this book is the insight that Tim had, even back then; the depth of thought that
he had, thinking through how technology was going to influence us and impact us
and he was dead on in many instances. His history of the digital world ‘Enough
technology’ is brilliant in his introductory chapters,
and his chapter on how view of truth and authority has been shaped by the way
that our technology works is also well worth while. This is a great read to help
you think through the whole issue. Now if reading a full book like that seems a
bit daunting, New Growth Press have brought out this little booklet: “Obsessed
with your Phone” by the biblical counsellor William P. Smith. This is very
approachable, it’s only 20 or so pages, and all William does is give you a
few things to think about in terms of how you might be tempted, or in your use
of social media and technology, particularly your phone. And then a few
areas where you could look to grow and look to maintain or bring back some
control over how you use your phone in your life. So three great books on the
use of technology itself, but then the question comes: what about the content
that’s being fed to us through this technology? And that’s where these two
books are very helpful. The first is “Plugged In” by Daniel
Strange, and in this book Daniel doesn’t want you to throw
everything out the window: all of the movies and TV shows and music and
material that’s being written online. Instead, he wants you to engage with it.
And what he tries to do is to help you pick apart the message that’s being sold
in these media. And then seeking to connect the gospel with those things
so that you can talk to your friends who might only be interested in the
sports game that was on on the weekend, you can talk to them about Jesus and how
it connects with what they’ve been watching and the desires inside them
that have been driving themselves to be so interested in this media. A very helpful
book in that regard. And then this book by Tony Reinke, again, “Competing Spectacles”. Now it’s a bit of a confusing title: when I
first read it [the title] I thought he was talking about spectacles as in glasses, but, in
fact what he’s talking about is those things the
grab our attention for a time: that sort of spectacle. And, really, he shows
how we, as humans, love spectacles. He spends the first half of the book just
demonstrating that we are always on the lookout for the next spectacle and,
really, have been for many ages. And then in the second half of the book he shows
us how there’s only one spectacle that will truly satisfy, and he calls us to
not be so obsessed with chasing the spectacles that the world’s throwing at
us: the latest blockbuster, the latest pop song, or the latest funny video. Instead
he says: chase the spectacle of Christ on the cross… chase the glory that we see in
him as he’s revealed to us in the Word. And that, he says, is the great spectacle
that, ultimately, will consume our thoughts and our attention in all
eternity, and that is the spectacle that will truly satisfy. And so hopefully if
you’re wanting to engage with technology and with the media that’s being
poured into us in our content-filled distraction-filled lives, then these five
books are a great place to start to help you think through these issues.