Could you live without your smartphone, Facebook or Netflix? This question had been asked by many writers recently but Cal Newport’s latest book asks a far more pertinent question. Are these technologies helping you support your values and could something else support them better? This question is central to the technological philosophy he presents in digital minimalism. I believe this question is very important for Christians and churches.
Digital Minimalism Is Not Anti-Technology
This is not an anti-technology book and every tool which Cal is critical of (smartphones, social networks, binging services) is shown being used well by individuals. Instead, it is a book about making sure we don’t blindly use technologies in the way their creators intended which may be for our harm and not our benefit.
Cal sets forth some simple principles for evaluating technologies and whether they should be adopted as well as ideas for how to use them better.
Importantly, Cal highlights some alternatives to social media and smart devices which can help achieve the benefits these services claim but far better.
What Does This Mean for Christians, Churches, and Our Social Media Policies
Technology can certainly help Christians and support our Christians values. We do, however, need to carefully evaluate how these tools work in reality and what is their real fruit.
I don’t know about you, but I find it much harder to spend a spontaneous five minutes praying or walking with God now than ten years ago.
While it’s great to have a library of theology books, bibles and Christian podcasts in our pocket at all time. It’s also important to spend time communicating and listening to God. [Click to Tweet]
Perhaps we need to ask tough questions about if our smartphones are really helping up grow as Christians and even in areas where they do help, perhaps a non-digital tool would help more?
Encouraging Non-Line Time?
Church social media plans might also consider how we can help encourage more positive social media habits and promote face to face encounters which Cal shows have a different quality.
You Can Still Use Technology as a Digital Minimalist
None of this is to say that your church should ditch social media, smartphones and whatever. But we need to make sure that we are doing the best thing to support our values with whatever technology (even paper) and not just using the best technology for this or that function.
Check out the book here.