This weekend, I’m going to go to New York. For the first time in a long time, I won’t be bringing my computer on a trip. I had no idea how tethered I was to this thing until I felt the thrill shudder through me at the thought of having a weekend with just a moleskine, my new (real) book, a Kindle, and a phone (hey, I can’t completely unplug in New York, right?).
About a year-and-a-half ago I read Tim Challie’s The Next Story about a Christian perspective on the digital explosion. He explored: How do we embrace technology rightly? How do we tend to do it wrongly? What are some temptations inherent in technology? How might we act to not let technology consume us? How do we maintain our humanity and community in the midst of it? What is a “theology” of technology?
I read this book very excitedly. I got through it pretty quickly (on my Kindle, ironically), and page after page (or rather “page”) held within it the promise of water in the digital desert. I felt the sense that there was much truth to be had here; that many of my anxieties and discipline problems found many answers in those words.
And yet, I haven’t really put into practice any of those things I read. Each chapter ends with a really helpful set of question and suggested practices to help us engage and use our technology rightly. After finishing the book, I had grand notions of spending a week going back over each chapter’s questions and journaling through that chapter’s questions for that whole week, hoping to get it embedded in my heart and soul.
Alas, I didn’t. Looking at my Goodreads profile, it looks like I went straight from that book to reading the amazing book The Drama of Scripture to prepare for a talk I gave on the Story of the Bible at my church shortly after that.
Of course. Using Christian ministry to keep me from Christian growth. How many of us can relate to that?
But, in the forming of our hearts, little things matter, and I’m hoping that a day and a half in New York City without a laptop might be one small baby step on my road to Rest.