Wausau Alliance Church

From the Blog

Technology is Never Neutral

Technology is never neutral. Even a technology as simple as a shovel does two things. It makes digging easier, but it also puts blisters and callouses on the hands. When we regularly use more complex technology such as computers, and smart phones, the unintended impact on us is much more significant. Why and how we use technology is vital in our discipleship. And it’s imperative to understand how to best guide our kids in navigating the world of technology.

Andy Crouch’s book The Tech-Wise Family is a wise guide for all who are seeking to lead their home in wisdom regarding technology. Whether you are single, married, with or without children, the book contains wisdom for all of us.

Two features that make Andy’s book interesting are that each chapter contains info graphics from Barna with research on a variety of topics regarding tech and families. In each chapter, in addition to providing a compelling vision of what could be, Crouch also includes at the end of each chapter a “Reality Check” section where he discusses the Crouch family’s own practices, and where they are falling short.

Crouch provides guidance with an attitude of humility that is both refreshing, and calls us to pursue character (which requires wisdom and courage), shape the spaces we live, and structure our time with habits and rhythms that promote deeper knowing and loving of God, others, and God’s world.

All of us face the temptation to silence boredom and the silence with noise. For some of us this is the TV; for others, a smartphone or the radio. While each of these technologies can be used for good, when they become barriers to connecting with God, and with others, they have taken a place in our lives that God does not intend for us.

Because of the ubiquity of technology around us promising relief and distraction, we need to be intentional to pursue wisdom. Living with wisdom requires courage and resolve to act on what we know to be best, even when it isn’t easy.

A tool that is useful for helping us make the right choices is called a nudge. Our mothers gave us a nudge to eat vegetables with our supper by putting it on our plate. We did it because it was there, even though we didn’t necessarily think about it. Marketers and advertisers study nudges, and are hard at work to keep us more engaged with what they are trying to sell. App developers are continually trying to increase the usage that their apps get by making their apps more rewarding to users, increasing the time that you and I spend on their app. Are you and I thinking carefully about the nudges that we cultivate for our own life, and for our family?

As those made in God’s image, we were made to be sub-creators, people who imitate God in worship with our creativity. The irony is that technology is the product of incredible creativity and ingenuity; but when improperly used, it will curtail our creativity and inculcate us in consumerism instead of creativity. What much of technology around us does for us is it allows us to be passive receivers, instead of active participants. Even technology intended to encourage greater connectedness can actually lead to greater isolation and lack of real human connection, as all we see of others is their edited highlight real; and true authenticity that can only be seen in real human to human interaction is removed.

In a day an age of endless options of resources thrown our direction, promoted for our consumption, The Tech-Wise Family is worthy of your attention. All those seeking to live with wisdom and courage will find it offers timely and thoughtful counsel.

Pastor Aaron