F.M. Sciutto III

By His Free Grace Alone, To Be Treasured Alone, & For His Glory Alone

Posts Tagged ‘from the garden to the city

From the Garden to the City, Part IV

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I just finished reading John Dyer’s From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology on my Kindle. At the time of my browsing Amazon, it was free. So, I decided to download it and read it whenever I had a few minutes here or there.

Instead of reviewing it in the traditional format, I am going to post some highlights from the book that I found interesting and helpful about discerning the use technology in the Christian life. I will let the author speak for himself on whether or not you think the book deserves to be read.

Redemption and Technology

“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.” (Loc. 440-44)

“The cross, then, is a symbol of the distorted creation turning on its creator. That twisted tree represents the twisted us, a humanity transformed by sin and bent toward death.” (Loc. 2334-35)

“And yet in his grace, God has still chosen the most fallen and rebellious of human creations as the place for his final restoration. God made a promise to the people of Jerusalem to restore their city, not because it was a good or worthy city, but as a symbol of God’s redemptive work in which he transforms unworthy things into holy things.” (Loc. 2362-65)

“The Old Testament visions of the future are focused on the removal of sin and the dwelling of God among his people, and the place of this restoration is always the city. Then at the end of the biblical story, when God takes the final step in his plan of redemption by restoring all things, the restoration of the city reaches its culmination. When John’s Revelation tells of God creating the new heavens and new earth for the resurrected and redeemed human race (Rev. 21:1), it makes no mention of God re-creating the Garden of Eden. Instead of a garden, John tells us that God will bring down from heaven a redeemed and restored city.” (Loc. 2370-75)

“At the same time when we see unspeakable evil conducted with and through technology, it is not cause for us to hate or fear technology but for us to hate the sin that shackles us all.” (Loc. 2480-81)

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From the Garden to the City, Part III

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I just finished reading John Dyer’s From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology on my Kindle. At the time of my browsing Amazon, it was free. So, I decided to download it and read it whenever I had a few minutes here or there.

Instead of reviewing it in the traditional format, I am going to post some highlights from the book that I found interesting and helpful about discerning the use technology in the Christian life. I will let the author speak for himself on whether or not you think the book deserves to be read.

Idolatry and Technology

“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.” (Loc. 1311-12)

“We also use our idols, especially our technological ones, as a means of distraction. When we find something that offers us temporary relief from the curse of sin, instead of allowing its shortcomings to make us long for our Savior, we allow the technology to distract us from our obvious need of a savior.” (Loc. 1318-20)

“As our technology grows more and more powerful, the illusion of control becomes increasingly convincing. Today, our powers have grown to the point that in Western industrialized countries, we can go through our entire lives without the slightest physical need for God or other people.” (Loc. 1361-62)

“Although God is restricting the use of a particular medium—carved images—he does so for a very important reason. It’s not that God thinks images themselves are inherently evil. It’s because he recognizes that tools of technology never function as neutral, inert instruments. Instead the tools we use always bring with them values that shape the culture that uses them. If God had allowed the Israelites to make images of him, it might have appeared that he was like every other god, or a god among gods. Instead, by forbidding images of himself, God reinforced his identity as wholly other. He is not an idol among idols or an image among images—he is the one true God. Therefore, God decreed that the people of Israel were to approach him exclusively through the names, metaphors, and ideas found in the permanent, authoritative words of Scripture.” (Loc. 1948-54)

“In the online world, the great danger is that we are constructing an idol of ourselves and becoming distracted with our own beauty. Like Narcissus we may become trapped in a feedback loop of looking at ourselves, but never seeing beneath the surface to the deeper sickness that can only be healed in an embodied community of faith. We are continually tempted to construct a Tower of Babel unto ourselves rather than work together on being the people of God, conformed into the image of his Son.” (Loc. 2978-81)

From the Garden to the City, Part II

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I just finished reading John Dyer’s From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology on my Kindle. At the time of my browsing Amazon, it was free. So, I decided to download it and read it whenever I had a few minutes here or there.

Instead of reviewing it in the traditional format, I am going to post some highlights from the book that I found interesting and helpful about discerning the use technology in the Christian life. I will let the author speak for himself on whether or not you think the book deserves to be read.

The Church and Technology

“While God’s words are eternal and unchanging, the tools we use to access those words do change, and those changes in technology also bring subtle changes to the practice of worship. When we fail to recognize the impact of such technological change, we run the risk of allowing our tools to dictate our methods. Technology should not dictate our values or our methods. Rather, we must use technology out of our convictions and values.” (Loc. 359-62)

“In our sin we attempt to live independent of our need for God and others, but God originally designed humans to function in a deeply interdependent way that reflects the tri-personhood of God.” (Loc. 719-20)

“Churches urge their members to go through the program in hope that they will all come through the process as uniformly mature Christians. Of course, it’s wonderful when everyone in our church gets the chance to be theologically and biblically educated, but we can easily err into treating the spiritual growth of a human soul as if it were a simple, mechanical process. Then when we purchase “proven tools for spiritual growth” that don’t seem to “work,” we assume that we need to find and purchase a different tool, never considering that such a thing might not exist.” (Loc. 1045-49)

“A good portion of the Christian life requires the ability to concentrate and focus on ideas over long periods of time. Spiritual depth requires the ability to pray for more than a few minutes, to read and memorize Scripture (not search for it online), and to love God with our hearts and our minds. This means that we must be careful to cultivate and retain the skill of deeply reading and deeply contemplating the things of God, something the Internet and digital technologies do not value. We cannot read deeply when we spend all of our time scanning or when we allow distraction to rule our minds.” (Loc. 2874-78)

“Our problem is not that technologically mediated relationships are unreal, nor is the problem that all online communication is self-focused and narcissistic. Rather, the danger is that just like the abundance of food causes us to mistake sweet food for nourishing food, and just like the abundance of information can drown out deep thinking, the abundance of virtual connection can drown out the kind of life-giving, table-oriented life that Jesus cultivated among his disciples.” (Loc. 3002-5)

From the Garden to the City, Part I

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I just finished reading John Dyer’s From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology on my Kindle. At the time of my browsing Amazon, it was free. So, I decided to download it and read it whenever I had a few minutes here or there.

Instead of reviewing it in the traditional format, I am going to post some highlights from the book that I found interesting and helpful about discerning the use technology in the Christian life. I will let the author speak for himself on whether or not you think the book deserves to be read.

What Is Technology?

“Technology, then, 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.” (Loc. 548-50)

“Technology has the power to transform the world into the one we imagine, but it also has the power to transform our bodies, our mental capabilities, and our relational worlds.” (Loc. 630-32)

Technology as Savior?

“The allure of technology, then, is a promise that the right tools will bring about a better world. We continually tell ourselves that with technology we can take this broken world and mold it into the better one that we all desire.” (Loc. 541-43)

“Today our technological creations still honor God, and they are still a reflection of his creativity. But we must be careful not to believe the lie that the right tools will enable us to live independent from our Creator, the sustainer of life. Medicine may help us live longer, but we all still die in the end. And microphones might help us reach more people, but only a movement of God’s Spirit can save them.” (Loc. 1237-40)

“Yet we must also be careful to affirm that the redemptive capacity of technology is limited and temporary. Advances in technology can give us the illusion that it might someday overcome death, but this is a tragic and distracting lie. Clean water and ample medicine can only hold off death for so long—eventually death will find us all. Instead, we should view the redemptive capacities of technology as a temporary means of keeping humanity going while God does his work.” (Loc. 1761-64)

“But we must also be ardent in our insistence that the redemptive capacities of technology are limited and temporary. We cannot mistake their power for the power of the one who one day will finally redeem us. Instead, let us view the redemptive functions of our tools as a foreshadowing of what is to come.” (Loc. 2477-79)