By Pearson Johnson
"I can put it down any time I want to." "It doesn't isolate me from people--it helps me connect!" "My phone is my life!" These and many other comments are overheard here on campus. This summer, Dr. Newton challenged the Student Life and Student Care staff to read a book about technology and its effects. I read 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You, by Tony Reinke (Crossway, 2017), promoted by the above video.
He begins: "That blasted smartphone! Pesk of productivity. Tenfold plague of beeps and buzzing. Soulless gadget with unquenchable power hunger . . . dictator, distractor, foe!" but then says "untiring personal assistant, my irreplaceable travel companion, and my lightning-fast connection to friends and family... This blessed smartphone!"
I think we all feel this tension. I know I do. My smartphone has gone from being a nicety to being a necessity because of how I use it for work, for ministry, and for staying in touch with family and friends. Let's face it-- smartphones are a part of our lives and we need to deal with that fact. How can we do so with biblical wisdom?
Tony is far from anti-tech. His job is to use tech, creating content for Desiring God. He is a journalist and writer as well, so he is tech-fluent. His book is balanced and was very helpful. I wanted to recommend it. The Student Life team will also be posting some pointers based on what we learned from our summer reading in posts to come. Stay Tuned!