This is a must-read! I had not heard about the book FROM THE GARDEN TO THE CITY by author John Dyer until yesterday when I read the 2 articles below. I have been inspired to read it, and will be sure to let you know my thoughts.
I found these snippets from John Dyer’s From the Garden to the City to be thought-provoking:
1. “In some sense, all of our technology can be understood as an attempt to overcome the effects of the fall.”
2. “Technology should not dictate our values or our methods. Rather, we must use technology out of our convictions and values.”
3. “Rather than taking our cues about technology from the Scriptures and the outline of God’s plan for humanity, we seem to be locked in a cycle of questioning the really, really new but accepting the just barely old.”
4. “When technology has distracted us to the point that we no longer examine it, it gains the greatest opportunity to enslave us.”
5. ”God is more interested in our theology of worship than in our technology of worship.”
6. “Technology is the means by which we transform the world as it is into the world that we desire. What we often fail to notice is that it is not only the world that gets transformed by technology. We, too, are transformed.”
7. “Digital natives grow up with technology, and the use of technology becomes engrained in the way these individuals think and go about life. But digital immigrants are always learning and playing catch-up, like an adult learning a second language.”
8. “We use our idols fundamentally as a way of meeting our needs apart from God, and this is our greatest temptation with technology—to use it as a substitute for God.”
9. “As Christians, we often say, ‘the means change, but the message stays the same.’ However, while it’s true that the gospel message never changes, the means by which that message is communicated does, in fact, bring with it additional ends. Much of this is due to the fact that like all other things we create, our technology brings with it a set of values.”
10. “We must begin by continually returning to the Scriptures to find our Christian values and identity. From that perspective we can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of technology and determine what values will emerge from the tendencies of use built into its design.”
“At one end of this story is a pristine garden prepared by God for humankind to develop and transform. At the other end is a glorious, heavenly city full of human creations, art, and technology. At the center is our Savior Jesus Christ crucified on a cross, the most horrific of all technological distortions, built by transforming a tree from the natural world into a tool of death. Yet in his resurrection, Christ redeemed even that tool, transforming it into the symbol of our faith that eternally portrays his power over death and sin. In the time between the garden and the city, between Christ’s first and second coming (when he will complete his work of redemption and restoration), we must work diligently to understand how to live faithfully in this technology-saturated world.”
– quotes selected from From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology
Print transforms our thinking, images transform our feeling, telegraphs transform our informing, and phones transform our relating.
What do we get when we combine text, images, information access, and direct human-to-human connection? The answer is the most powerfully transformative technological system humans have ever created. The Internet and all of the websites, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and so on that we use to share information and connect to one another are now an essential part of our culture, and they both reflect and inform our values.
– John Dyer, From the Garden to the City