*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***

In the online world, not of it    

by
07 April 2017

Bryony Taylor looks at spiritual challenges posed by the internet

Digitally Remastered: A biblical guide to reclaiming your virtual self

Guy Brandon

Muddy Pearl £9.99

(978-1-9100-01237-6)

Church Times Bookshop £9

 

 

IN THE first chapter of his book, Guy Brandon says: “this isn’t a book about the internet or technology. It is about power and how that impacts our freedom as Christians.”

The theme of power runs throughout this helpful guide to some of the current issues to be faced in living faithfully as Chris­tians in our “always-on” internet-addicted culture. Brandon guides the reader through such topics as control, work and rest, identity, privacy and surveillance, and how they relate to use of the internet and social media.

Does the book live up to its sub­title, A biblical guide to reclaiming your virtual self? I found it very helpful in terms of reflecting on how I use social media, the hold that it has over me, and how that relates to my relationship with God; but I didn’t find that the biblical allusions particularly helped with this.

There is a smattering of Bible references through the book — and some are more successful than others. It might have been helpful to explain in the introduction how the book would be a “biblical guide”, and address the tensions inherent in applying the Bible to something that is so alien to the cultures in which the Bible was formed.

Where Brandon is excellent is in telling personal anecdotes in his own grappling with technology as a Christian. This resonated well with me, and I should have liked to hear more of his direct voice.

The book is very well researched and has an easy journalistic style. Throughout, Brandon manages to present the reality of the ambiguity of digital technology. Christians constantly swing between thinking the internet and social media are a great boon and thinking that they are a great evil. As with any new technology, we have to live with this ambiguity (as in other areas of life). Brandon provides some lights along the way to help us navigate through the fog.

I would recommend this book to both technologically savvy Christians and those who feel that they know very little about the online world. It is an excellent description of some of the current challenges. I came away from reading it far more thoughtful about how I use technology and how, sometimes, technology uses me.

The title of the book is apt: it is about how we might be digitally re-mastered to walk more closely the way of Jesus.

 

The Revd Bryony Taylor, assistant curate of St Michael and All Angels, Houghton-le-Spring, Durham dio­cese, is the author of Sharing Faith Using Social Media (Grove, 2016).

Church Times Bookshop

Save money on books reviewed or featured in the Church Times. To get your reader discount:

> Click on the “Church Times Bookshop” link at the end of the review.

> Call 0845 017 6965 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm).

The reader discount is valid for two months after the review publication date. E&OE

Forthcoming Events

14 September 2020
Festival of Pilgrimage
From Christ Church Oxford: a chance to reflect theologically on pilgrimage and come away with practical ideas for your parish.   Book tickets

29 September 2020
Festival of Preaching
A one-day online version of our popular preaching festival. With Mark Oakley, Sam Wells and Anna Carter Florence.   Book tickets

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)