Flourishing in a Digital World
by Ed Brooks and Pete Nicholas
Available from Ten of Those
Can digital advancement and spiritual growth co-exist? This, amongst others, is one of the central questions that this subtly entitled book, published in 2015 by IVP, addresses. Ed Brooks and Pete Nicholas courageously tackle the present culture head on, engage with it, connect with its proponents and humbly confront them with the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ of the gospel of Christ. Obeying the Lord Jesus’ instruction to His disciples to be ‘in the world but not of it’ they have produced a thoroughly researched, academically weighty yet accessible read with a strong evangelistic edge.
Part One explores the nature of technology, its history and the challenges it presents to today’s users. Part Two examines the impact technology is having on our sense of identity, our relationships and our perception of time, sex and knowledge.
The great achievement of this book is that it does what it sets out to do.
‘If we as authors do our task well, and if you are open to change, then by the end of this book you won’t see technology in quite the same way. In fact, we hope you won’t see yourself, God or his world in quite the same way either.’ (p19)
I, for one, have had my assumptions challenged, my prejudices gently exposed, my knowledge expanded, my interest stimulated and my will inspired. And because we all ‘live within the story of the digital age’ and therefore cannot avoid the subject, it’s a book we all need to read.
If you’re someone who feels out of your depth in this age of devices and gadgets, Virtually Human will give you an overview of the issues surrounding the subject. If you’re a technological aficionado, it will challenge you to consider your online habits and encourage you to use technology in a way that glorifies God. There really is something for everyone – you can’t go wrong in reading this book.
It’s also a great book to read with a friend or in a reading group owing to the thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter that address the heart as well as the mind. Brilliantly structured, it reads like a well-designed and user-friendly website in which the reader can find his or her way around the discussion with confidence.
The concluding chapter focuses on the Lord Jesus Christ as the most fully human being that ever lived and encourages readers to proceed in the real-time of this fast-changing digital era in accordance with, rather than against the grain of God’s design for the world.
I’d like to think that having read this book, I am now less of a ‘user’ of technology and more of a ‘reflective practitioner’ and for that I grateful to these two writers and look forward to whatever they publish next.