An Annotated Reading List on Christianity and Digital Technology
Below is a syllabus I’ve been working on for people who are interested in studying more in the area of digital technology and Christian belief/practice. It is in no way exhaustive, but the following list represents a somewhat diverse set of books that I have read and benefited from. One thing I’ve tried to do with this syllabus is avoid volumes that essentially repeat each other. Obviously there is going to be some overlap, but generally speaking, the books on this list present something fresh to the issue.
If you’re a pastor, organizational leader, or parent, this list is especially for you. One idea would be to take 1 book from each reading level and use the summer to work through them. You might start with 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You, The Shallows, and In the Swarm. The best way to read these three books would be to make them talk to each other; trace out the ideas that each volume has in common, and see if there is any natural development from one volume to the next. It’s this way of reading that has benefited me the most over the years.
For group reading purposes, the Easy and Moderate books will be more helpful than the Difficult books. The Difficult books are essentially works of philosophy that think in historical, analytical terms. The big beneft to the Difficult books is that you will find explanations for the phenomena and dynamics described by the more accessible books. Our struggle with digital technology has foundational causes, and exploring those causes is what allows us to be proactive as technology changes, not just reactive.
A quick summary of the reading Levels:
Easy—highly accessible resource that a teenager and 70-year old could easily understand
Moderate—mostly accessible resource, some more technical/theological language, recommended for thoughtful laypeople and college students
Difficult—less accessible resource, important high-level ideas for pastors and leaders but unlikely to be recommended broadly.