I loved Tony Reinke’s latest book 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You. I suppose I should give a caveat or two. I loved the content and really everything about this book, but it was very convicting. Some quick things I would point out:
- This book includes a theology of technology. Now this might not readily appeal to you. But, knowing how what we believe about God and how that relates to technology is an invaluable help to those who want to follow Christ and live in this day and age.
- The book’s title suggests something obvious (and easily ignored): your phone is changing you. When thinking about an elder or deacon when it comes to money I’ve often asked, do you master your money? or does your money master you? In today’s day and age, we must come to terms with this: do you master your phone/technology? or does your phone/technology master you? And, I think this book is a good starting point to gaze on our hearts when it comes to these questions.
- My favorite part of the book was a middle section called “Calling All Artists.” This section helped frame some categories and ways of thinking for those of us who are working in content creation. There were warnings, cautions, and even probing questions dealing with how we wield digital words in ways that honor God. I needed this section and continue to think about it often.
- Tony’s writing style will serve you well. How could I put it? He’s the right mix of technical information (on a subject like technology in this case) and practicality. He takes it to places that help you think through what it might mean for you. And, on the other hand, many readers will probably want him to go further or lighter than he did. It’s a delicate balance that I feel he’s successfully achieved: the right amount of technical content fused with Biblical, God-consumed, heart-wrenching application.
- The vision of this book, to take our use of phones out for a spin and consider how this activity might help or hinder our love of God and neighbor, is achieved. I love reading books that don’t major on minors. And, Tony is consumed with the majors (loving God and neighbor) to such a degree that the reader is nurtured to green pastures of living. There’s such practicality dripping on every page too, like questions to ask before you tweet something or interacting with whether or not we confornt sin online.
- Recently, I’ve encouraged those who want to nurture hearts that are fixed on things above and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1-4) to think through their use of phones/technology and recommended this as a tool. We underestimate the influence these things have on us to our detriment. Like Tony, I’m not necessarily recommending that you ditch your phone. However, we have some sort of belief or way of thinking about these techonological benefits we enjoy.
So, I’d recommend this book to you. For the sake of your soul, your family, and your future, please consider these things. You can take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. As Tony said at the end, “our greatest need in the digital age is to behold the glory of the unseen Christ in the faint blue glow of our pixelated Bibles, by faith” (p.210). So, may God grant this.
(Tony has also posted some additional feature articles related to the book’s content, so check those out.)