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From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming…
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From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of… (edition 2011)

by John Dyer (Author)

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Believers and unbelievers alike are saturated with technology, yet most give it little if any thought. Consumers buy and upgrade as fast as they can, largely unaware of technology's subtle yet powerful influence. In a world where technology changes almost daily, many are left to wonder: Should Christians embrace all that is happening? Are there some technologies that we need to avoid? Does the Bible give us any guidance on how to use digital tools and social media?… (more)
Member:gweronimo
Title:From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology
Authors:John Dyer (Author)
Info:Kregel Publications (2011), Edition: 5/25/11, 192 pages
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From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology by John Dyer

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From the Garden to the City is an engaging read which takes the reader on a journey of self discovery in their use of technology. John Dyer has a great power over words and uses this to bring the reader to their own realizations that technology is never neutral. Dyer’s main focus is on “the redeeming and corrupting power of technology.” This he shows with examples from the Bible and anecdotes. I think this book is very beneficial especially for those of us who grew up in the information age with iPhones and the internet at our fingertips, but it applies to anyone who has ever used any technology, even an extremist (where technology is concerned) group like the Amish. ( )
  KatelynSBolds | Nov 12, 2018 |
A well-written, easy to understand, yet theologically attuned account of technology beginning with the garden and God's mandate for us to be creative cultivators. Dyers easy going manner comes out in the writing, and reading it is like having a conversation.

The key summary through the first 3 chapters: we create things, images, rituals, and language, and when we share those things we create culture.

The rest of the book was just as well written and received. Taking neither a go-for-it approach to all technology nor an avoid-it-all approach, Dyer talks about the need to evaluate, not only the technology's purpose, but its effects on the ends we use it for. A worthwhile read for anyone in this age of ever changing technological advances as we seek to retain the humanness of interaction. ( )
  memlhd | Jan 22, 2016 |
Dyer's book is an excellent introduction to a Christian view of media ecology. For those who have already spent any amount of time grappling with the issues Dyer raises, little he says will be surprising, but for many Christians, this popular treatment will be quite helpful. Dyer's prose isn't particularly beautiful, but it gets the job done well. Similarly, his exposition of Scripture isn't breathtaking, but it accomplishes its end effectively, and I suspect the vast majority of American evangelicals could use to ponder some of the points he makes in his careful if relatively topical treatment of the development of technology throughout the pages of Genesis. ( )
  chriskrycho | Mar 28, 2013 |
I read a lot of blogs about technology and the Church, and more recently I’ve been giving a lot of thought to exactly how our technology and our faith collide – how one impacts the other. So I was excited to find out about the blog tour for From the Garden to the City — it sounded like just the book I was looking for.

And Dyer does not disappoint. I like the way he sets out his purpose at the very beginning of the book when he writes, “John makes a calculated choice to us a disembodied form of communication in service of the embodied life of the church, and in doing so he honors our Lord and builds up His Body.

“My hope is that in the coming chapters we can learn to do the same with our technology.”

Our ultimate purpose in technology has to be to honor God and build up the Church. Dyer is referring to 3 John 12-13, where John mentions that he had a lot more to write, but that those things could wait until he saw the recipients of that letter in person. In 2 John, the apostle mentions that he often wanted to write, but that there were things that had to be discussed in person. Two sides of the same coin, and two different uses of technology.

Dyer points out that technology has two different “stories” — how we use technology to shape our world, and how that technology shapes us. Too often, we look at one of those stories and ignore the other — we either become pragmatists who use every new technology without thought as to whether it’s the best solution to our problem, or we become complete Luddites who shun any new technology. Both are equally dangerous.

Interestingly, Dyer starts out with the Fall — this would be the “From the Garden” part of the book. He shows how God created us to be creative ourselves, to use technology to improve things. Adam is commanded to till the soil and cultivate the garden (Genesis 2:15). This fits with the overall pattern of the book, in which Dyer brings up four different categories that we need to think about in our use of technology:

Reflection: Since we are created in God’s image, how does the technology changes the way we reflect that image to the world?
Rebellion: Given that mankind is fallen, given our sin nature, how can this technology be perverted? How does our sin nature make us susceptible to temptation and sin?
Redemption: What are the evangelistic uses of this technology? How can we use this to take the Gospel to the world? SHOULD we use this technology to take the Gospel to the world?
Restoration: How does technology fit into God’s plan to ultimately restore the earth?

We need to remember that technology is a tool; what we do with it is what is important. We are creative people, and we need to use that aspect of the image of God to do great things in His name.

Long story short — this book has given me a lot to think about. Taken with several other books I’ve been reading and re-reading recently (Hamlet’s Blackberry, Devices of the Soul especially), I think there may be a need for me to re-evaluate how I sometimes use technology, and how often it becomes just a crutch for me.

John Dyer has written a book that may be uncomfortable for many Christians, but should be read by us all. There’s the germ of a sermon series in here, or maybe an evening Bible study to help Christians of all ages deal with the technology that has become so all-encompassing and overwhelming. ( )
  wkelly42 | Nov 10, 2012 |
I was particularly interested in this book, which touted itself as a tome on understanding the effects of technology on our faith. It actually turned out to be a sort of theology of technology from the beginning of time until the present day, but the last couple of chapters and the recommendations were gold! His insights on how the internet and our "scanning" culture has impacted our ability to think deeply and reflect were so right on, but I'd never really thought about it before. I would recommend this book for all Christians. ( )
  SherylHendrix | Jan 2, 2012 |
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Believers and unbelievers alike are saturated with technology, yet most give it little if any thought. Consumers buy and upgrade as fast as they can, largely unaware of technology's subtle yet powerful influence. In a world where technology changes almost daily, many are left to wonder: Should Christians embrace all that is happening? Are there some technologies that we need to avoid? Does the Bible give us any guidance on how to use digital tools and social media?

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