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Technology & Spirituality: How the Information Revolution Affects Our Spiritual Lives (Skylight Illuminations) [Hardcover]

Stephen K. Spyker
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1, 2007 Skylight Illuminations

Can you live a spiritual life in a hyperconnected world?

“Technology is part of what defines us; it’s part of what makes us human. More than that, the technologies we adopt affect the very type of humans we become. The tools we choose to use and how we use them affect how we think, how we make decisions, how we relate to one another, how we construct knowledge, even how we think about God.”
—from the Introduction

Every day, new technologies affect your life at home, at work and at play. But how often do you pause to consider how your computer, mp3 player, cell phone, or PDA influence your spiritual life—your beliefs, your faith, your fundamental understanding of God?

With wit and verve, Stephen Spyker leads you on a lively journey through the many ways technology impacts how we think about faith and how we practice it. He explores the role of new spiritual communities, the personal relationships we have with our gadgets, our changing expectations, helping you to think about the many, often subtle, ways technology has seeped into every aspect of our lives and changed the way we “do” faith.

  • Can online churches replace traditional houses of worship?
  • Will my iPod give me peace of mind?
  • Is technological convenience undermining our ability to create community and make commitments?

Whether a technophile or technophobe, no matter your faith or background, this book will entertain and challenge you while encouraging you to take a fresh look at spirituality in our modern world.


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A wonderfully provocative analysis of the impact of technology on our lives. Challenges us to examine honestly our assumptions and beliefs about technology and how it shapes us. His questions are superb--we would all do well to adopt them as our own." -- Rabbi David W. Nelson, author of Judaism, Physics and God: Searching for Sacred Metaphors in a Post-Einstein World

"Delightfully readable and decidedly fresh--challenges the usual arguments dividing technology and spirituality, inviting us to live the deeper connections between these topics. An unexpected plus--it is totally fun!" -- Rev. Dr. Tara Lea Hornbacker, associate professor of ministry formation, Bethany Theological Seminary

"Skillfully explores our long-standing relationship to technology, while inviting us to consciously evaluate the new influences, positive and negative, that technology has on our spiritual lives." -- Stephanie Ford, assistant professor of Christian spirituality, Earlham School of Religion

"Strikes a useful and necessary balance between the new and ancient, the simple and complex. Envisions a technological future informed by our faith, and a faith enriched and expanded by scientific progress. Those of us who live with a foot in each world are in Spyker's debt." -- Philip Gulley, Quaker pastor; author of If God Is Love: Rediscovering Grace in an Ungracious World and other books

From the Inside Flap

Parishes or PCs?

Hymns or Hypertext?

In this age of information, the technology we choose to use and how we choose to use it has become an important part of how we define ourselves. This engaging book invites you to evaluate how the technological tools and conveniences you have become accustomed to can affect not only your daily life, but your spiritual life too. Each chapter examines the relationship between technology and spirituality through a critical lens:

  • Simplicity--Traditional communal responses to technology and how we can apply them to our own interactions with emerging technologies.
  • Transparency--How emerging technologies can transform our world and the way we think.
  • Community--Where is reality along the continuum between the material world and the virtual world?
  • Identity--How technology is evolving, and how we might be evolving in response to it.
  • Velocity--The role technology plays in addressing our conflicting heartfelt desires.
  • Connectivity--What our hyperconnected world does to our spiritual lives.
  • Liberty--Does technology set us free, or does it enable our addictions?
Embrace it or bemoan it, technology is a necessary part of our daily lives. Here is your chance to take a careful look at the ways you can use--or reject--technology to enhance your spiritual life.

Product Details

  • Series: Skylight Illuminations
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: SkyLight Paths; 1 edition (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594732183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594732188
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Technology and Spirituality April 3, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Technology and Spirituality is a subject that has caught my attention. As a TA in researching the link between the two subjects Spykers book was on my list of must reads.

The Luddite metaphor is a striking link between churches that shun progress and those that embrace technology in the church. Having read Spyker's dissertation Spirituality and Technology: A study in frontiers, I can most assuredly recommend this book as capturing the highlights of Spirituality and Technology. Skip the dissertation! It rambles and does not contain the scholarly element most found in dissertations.

Technology and Spirituality is a simple and good read for those beginning an initial investigation into how our spiritual lives and paradigms need to change. Spyker's book gives simple suggestions how we as a church can assist in facilitating these simple changes.

Alexandra Kealey
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The issue of how technology and spirituality relate is such an important topic that I'm surprised that there haven't been more books written on the topic. In Technology and Spirituality, Stephen K. Spyker, the Director of Information Technology at Earlham School of Religion and Theology and at Bethany Theological Seminary, tackles this critical issue.

Spyker organizes his ideas on technology and spirituality around 8 "lenses" by which to focus and see the terrain better. He spends a chapter on each, and in each chapter asks some important, probing questions.

Chapter 1 - Simplicity - Two the key questions here that Spyker raises are, "Does technology disrupt our lives?" and "Does the technology have a harmonious and uncomplicated elegance in its working?"

Chapter 2 - Transparency - How invisible is a certain technology? Technology determines how we think, what we believe, and who we are: are we aware of the effects of our technologies on us?

Chapter 3 - How is the information revolution revolutionizing how we build and think about communities? In keeping with Seth Godin's Tribes, Spyker remarks that we now belong to several communities simultaneously, which are not defined by places (political or geographic boundaries). Stryker also explores the ways in which media mediate our relationships in our communities.

Chapters 4 and 5 - Identity - How does technology affect our sense of identity, both individual and in relationships?

Chapter 6 - Velocity - How does technology shape and dominate my time? Computers, for example, have a way of rearranging our priorities and goals. Spyker advocates taking time to slow down and even to fast or have retreats from our technology.
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