I’ve read various books on the interface of the Christian life with communications technology, eg e-mail, internet, social media, messaging and mobile phone for a start. They were mostly rather pessimistic, and all left me frustrated, until I read Digitally remastered. It’s immediately obvious that Guy Brandon knows what he’s talking about when he writes about the workings of technology. He understands the human condition, and he has thought deeply about our ‘Always On’ culture.
I was challenged by some of his questions. Is it true that technology is neutral? Who is in charge? Is technology facilitating my goals or working against them? Does it cause me extra stress? Is multitasking helpful? Is being permanently connected actually good for my connectedness? Does permanent connectivity affect Sabbath rest? Does my online persona influence my identity? Is infinite shopping choice as good as it sounds? Are privacy and anonymity really options, and are they a good thing?
The challenges at the end of each chapter didn’t let me fudge these and other questions. I concluded that my relationship with my technology is actually a relational and spiritual matter. I will continue to use it, probably even more so. But I am optimistic that now, instead of it mastering me, I will use it better, and I will be its master.
I’ve decided to read Digitally remastered once a year. Technology will of course continue to develop. But I believe that the questions raised here will continue to help me to plot a godly way forward.
Dr Guy Brandon studied Old Testament Theology at Cambridge University, and has worked in business as a consultant on communications technology. He is Research Director for the Jubilee Centre, which is a Cambridge based social reform think tank. It explores a Biblical perspective on social, economic and political issues, and resources Christians to be salt and light in the public square.