Great way to become acquainted with Ellul, a giant in philosophy/theology of media and technology. Although I don't agree with all his views (universalism), still, his insights into technology, written decades ago, are brilliant, prophetic, and a challenge as to how we will deal with the technology that defines our age.
I had to read this text as part of my seminary studies. It was certainly interesting. I liked much of what he said in it as it challenges technique and modern society. His perspectives on religion (different than many others) was also helpful.
This book will challenge many views that we take for granted. It will lead us to question things we see in society and the church that we take for granted. Many questions that arise from this book will help us to return to a greater purity in life and in the church.
The last guy is right, this book is worth 4 stars. But not because of some seminary stuff: I'll explain henceforth. 1st reason- This book has the failings of a few other Ellul books, most namely to me The Technological Bluff. His ideas are quite fine, but applied too specifically to stuff I don't know or care about. The French Government, this weird medical device that they obviously don't use anymore: personally, I like Ellul's broad, world-encompassing notions and ideas. "Think globally, act locally!" Indeed, Ellul (that's his slogan)! 2nd Reason- because it's similar to Conversations with Patrick Troude-Chastenet... but not as good! Here he also brings back some of his big ideas, and doles out some more really good ones! Yes, I admit that! But it doesn't have the poetic narrative of his own life to feed from. It's more just like "hodge podge of thinkings from the porch of Jacques Ellul." If you haven't read Conversations, read that first. Then this. I still insist it is very good, but some parts... the problem could also be that I'm not into dissecting economic situations, and here he discusses Marxism (and its influence on him) pretty heavily.
The last chapter on religion is good for bridging the gap from Ellul's study of technique to his ideas on religious texts. I was pretty disappointed when I found out he was a Christian, thinking perhaps he was a crackpot who had some moral aversion to the technologically advanced rock n' roll kids are listening to these days (and he does say that at one point), but he does have some very eccentric and thoughtful spiritual ideas that definitely separate him from the herd of followers. Because I dislike blind followers of both religion and technology, so I said, "Oh no, Ellul: don't do dat, boy!" at first. But he's all right, so far as I know. No "God told me to save the world by writing this book" or "the human body is a technology of God, so that's okay!" Enjoy!