Do you feel a need in your life to carry your phone with you wherever you go? Do you find that you have your phone on your night stand or even in bed with you every night? Are you so distracted by social media that you feel like you are missing out on important moments in the lives of people you love? It turns out that many people in America are struggling with the exact same thing: a slavery to technology.
Earlier this month, Baker Books published, The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place, written by Andy Crouch. Crouch, executive editor of Christianity Today, shows people that they don’t have to be ruled by technology, but rather they can follow ten simple principles to help them keep technology in its proper place.
I won’t give you all ten principles here, but one that really struck me was the importance of “shaping space.” Crouch argues, that the space you do life in each day actually affects the way you are formed as a person. So if your space is filled with technology, that allows you to be passive, then your life will be marked by passivity, but if your space is filled with things that cause you to be creative and active, then it is more likely, that you are going to be creative and active.
Crouch says, “to make the space where you spend the most time the place where easy everywhere is hardest to find. This simple nudge, all by itself, is a powerful antidote for consumer culture, the way of life that finds satisfaction mostly in enjoying what other people have made. It’s an invitation instead to create culture—finding joy in shaping something useful or beautiful out of the raw material of the world.” (80)
If we structure our living spaces in ways that emphasize creating, rather than consuming, we may find that we become less attracted to passivity and more engaged in active creation of culture. For my family, this room is our living room. Right now, our TV is the focal point, but we plan to change this in the near future in order to create a space that encourages active human engagement, rather than passive consumption.
This book, however, could easily lead to a dangerous law abiding legalism. Although it is not Crouch’s intention to make people feel as though they are failing if they don’t follow his ten principles, I still came away from this book with that feeling. I think this book would have greater power if he gave a chapter to developing a gospel centered understanding of technology. Ultimately, Jesus is the only way we can be freed from the things we are enslaved to in this life. We may be able to break free from the hold that our phones have on our life, but no doubt, we will find something or someone else to make our master. Only in Jesus can we find true satisfaction and rest from the pressures of this world.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”