The Next Story – Review

what not to do as a newbie writer

The Next Story focuses on how the theological, theoretical, and experiential intersect with technology. The author has put together a thoughtful book that will change the way you think about technology. In fact, I have found that the impact of this book goes beyond the words on the page – it will inspire you to rethink many aspects of your life in the modern age.

Part One breaks down these three facets in light of technology. The theological implications of technology are often overlooked, and the author’s definition of technology as “the practical result of the creative process” is helpful. Christians are called to create, and part of our duty is to shape and use the technology all around us for God’s glory. The next chapter focuses on the theoretical aspects of technology, followed by a short history of technology. The history of technology is a great perspective on the speed of change leading to the modern world. It is a welcome reminder of how far we have come in so short a time.

Part Two focuses on different aspects of technology viewed through the three lenses that the author describes in Part One. These discussions are the best part of the book. They are fair critiques and Challies never forgets to point out all of the benefits along with the drawbacks.

The chapters in Part Two focus on communication, mediation, distraction, information, truth, and privacy. While they are tied to technology in particular, they are issues that Christians have always dealt with. Though each chapter is excellent and offers insight into theses issues, one chapter that stands out is the chapter on privacy. The idea that we should add “you shall know them by their data” to “you shall know them by their fruit” is great. Also, thinking through how our lack of privacy online reminds us that we keep nothing private from Him is a powerful idea.

Whether you are a digital native or a digital immigrant this book is worth reading. The real strength of this book is the framework that it gives you to help evaluate technology as a thoughtful Christian. I have never read anything like it and am grateful to have it as a reference in the future. Highly recommended.

– Easy to read, theologically sound, well thought out.
– Unique. Doubt that you have another book that addresses these issues so completely.
– Valuable for all Christians. Great resource for parents, students, and pastors who must deal with these issues often.

*Wish List for Updates
– This book is admittedly descriptive rather than prescriptive, but practical suggestions would have been great. Challies hints at some in the epilogue, but no additional resources are given. (For help with avoiding distraction and managing time online, I recommend starting with The 4-Hour Workweek.)
– The mediation chapter critiques virtual churches, but nothing is said about the advent of preaching-by-video churches. Would like to see the author discuss/critique the growing number of churches that are primarily taught via live streaming video from other locations.

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