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Networked Theology: Negotiating Faith in Digital Culture

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The Theological Implications of Digital Culture This informed theology of communication and media analyzes how we consume new media and technologies and discusses the impact on our social and religious lives. Combining expertise in religion online, theology, and technology, the authors synthesize scholarly work on religion and the internet for a nonspecialist audience. They The Theological Implications of Digital Culture This informed theology of communication and media analyzes how we consume new media and technologies and discusses the impact on our social and religious lives. Combining expertise in religion online, theology, and technology, the authors synthesize scholarly work on religion and the internet for a nonspecialist audience. They show that both media studies and theology offer important resources for helping Christians engage in a thoughtful and faith-based critical evaluation of the effect of new media technologies on society, our lives, and the church.


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The Theological Implications of Digital Culture This informed theology of communication and media analyzes how we consume new media and technologies and discusses the impact on our social and religious lives. Combining expertise in religion online, theology, and technology, the authors synthesize scholarly work on religion and the internet for a nonspecialist audience. They The Theological Implications of Digital Culture This informed theology of communication and media analyzes how we consume new media and technologies and discusses the impact on our social and religious lives. Combining expertise in religion online, theology, and technology, the authors synthesize scholarly work on religion and the internet for a nonspecialist audience. They show that both media studies and theology offer important resources for helping Christians engage in a thoughtful and faith-based critical evaluation of the effect of new media technologies on society, our lives, and the church.

30 review for Networked Theology: Negotiating Faith in Digital Culture

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dwight Davis

    This book is emblematic of the primary problems I have with A) scholarship done on technology and B) evangelical theological works. Let’s dive in. A) I’m unconvinced that technology is something that can be dealt with well in traditional, book/monograph level scholarship. The amount of time it takes to produce a book means you’re already years behind on current trends by the time the book is published. This book was published in 2016 and it already feels dated. There’s a also a significant probl This book is emblematic of the primary problems I have with A) scholarship done on technology and B) evangelical theological works. Let’s dive in. A) I’m unconvinced that technology is something that can be dealt with well in traditional, book/monograph level scholarship. The amount of time it takes to produce a book means you’re already years behind on current trends by the time the book is published. This book was published in 2016 and it already feels dated. There’s a also a significant problem with older folks writing about tech who didn’t grow up with the internet in that they tend to still treat it as if it’s this ethereal and suspicious thing, whereas for me the Internet is just as much a part of life as anything else. I’ve known it pretty much my whole life. The writing in this books comes off as dated, uninformed, and out of touch. B) Evangelical theology relies so much on the Bible. And that’s fine. But what ends up happening, especially in a book on something like the Internet, is proof texting. The Bible doesn’t have answers about the Internet. So what ends up happening here is we get some vague prooftexting about wisdom and discernment etc. This is something I see all the time in evangelical theological monographs. Rather than relying on intense and rigorous theoretical, interdisciplinary, and intersectional analysis, evangelicals tend to stick to surface level reads of difficult issues and proof texting the Bible. I find this method intensely unpersuasive, especially considering that my theology of scripture is fundamentally different from that held by the authors of this book. Oh. And you immediately lost me when you suggested YouTube should be used for apologetics.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Randall Connally

    Networked Theology by Heidi Campbell and Stephen Garner is an easy and compelling read. Written from a scholarly perspective though not in an overly scholarly style, the book is engaging, thought provoking and compels one to further reading if you are interested in technology and its impact on the Church and society. It is written as a synopsis of scholarly research along with reflection on certain insights drawn from the research previously summarized. In adopting this style the book synthesize Networked Theology by Heidi Campbell and Stephen Garner is an easy and compelling read. Written from a scholarly perspective though not in an overly scholarly style, the book is engaging, thought provoking and compels one to further reading if you are interested in technology and its impact on the Church and society. It is written as a synopsis of scholarly research along with reflection on certain insights drawn from the research previously summarized. In adopting this style the book synthesizes a lot of interesting information about new media from a Christian perspective. In an era of tremendous internecine strife among professing Christians publicly played out on the internet and social media that for the most part does not bring glory to God, Networked Theology offers a perspective rooted in the commands to love God and love our neighbor that is timely and thoughtful. While not a comprehensive theology of technology, Chapter 4 of the book could form the basis of a short series of parent/child; small group; Sunday school or (in Christian Private Schools) a part of theology class for the students. A quick look at behavior of Christians toward each other on social media and the internet will confirm that we are not as a group doing a very good job showing kindness toward each other and need to apply discernment as to what kind of message our behavior toward each other sends to the broader world for whom we are supposed to serve as living representatives of Christ. While the book interacts with a variety of theological perspectives some of which any given reader may disagree with, it is fundamentally orthodox in its views as they relate to the subject matter of the book. While I would have enjoyed an expanded section on the history of Christianity & technology and believe that the Bible itself has a lot more to say about technology and man’s relationship to it than is developed in the book I can heartily recommend this book to anyone looking for thoughtful reflection on how technology is impacting our world; churches and how we should interact with it. As a suggestion, I believe this book could be done in the style of a “workbook” bible study which may facilitate embrace by small groups; Sunday school and Christian private school classes. The authors should consider asking the publisher to examine if they think there would be a good market for such an offering. I think there is a good chance the content reformatted in the style of an interactive study may find a larger market than the book in present form as educating Christians to interact with digital media in a way that is glorifying to God is critical and timely for our generation.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Randy Greene

    One of the core propositions of this book is that the word "network" characteristically sums up the nature of the internet and the structure by which it's affecting society. It's an interesting proposition, and not one I'd thought about in exactly those terms before. Of course, the internet is literally a network of devices (and of the people who use those devices), so it technically makes sense, but for most folks, I think that technical infrastructure of the internet operates two or three layer One of the core propositions of this book is that the word "network" characteristically sums up the nature of the internet and the structure by which it's affecting society. It's an interesting proposition, and not one I'd thought about in exactly those terms before. Of course, the internet is literally a network of devices (and of the people who use those devices), so it technically makes sense, but for most folks, I think that technical infrastructure of the internet operates two or three layers deeper than they function within. Since it is not a part of their daily experience of being online, it seems to me like a strange choice to make such a strong focus at the core of your book. It creates an unnecessary hurdle to overcome because, in addition to developing that model of network theology, you now have to help your readers understand why the network even makes sense in the context of their own lived experience. This is one of the biggest shortcomings of Networked Theology, in my opinion. The authors clearly know the many angles of their subject matter well -- which is especially notable because their work occupies the unique intersection of online connection and theology -- but their message is muddled in a failure to understand their audience. On the one hand, they spend a lot of time detailing the history and terms of media studies as if they are writing to a general audience; on the other hand, they continue to use jargon and an academic style that was often difficult for me to wade through, and I have two degrees in this exact subject matter! The first half of the book lays a groundwork understanding of media theory, how the internet works, and how theological praxis is being impacted by the increasing use of networked tools. The second half builds on that framework by exploring questions like "Who is my neighbor in an online context?" and "How can Christians use technology responsibly?" Unfortunately, while their responses to those questions are well-formed, they are not particularly novel, and they seem to me to be so abstract as to be mostly unhelpful. It would have been more useful for them to narrow their focus into a particular area of new media and examine that area's application to the Church -- for example, if they would have considered how Christian communities could use video streaming to enrich their sense of community connectedness. Instead, the broad approach in this book only gives us practical ideas that feel incohesive and difficult to apply.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    This was...a drag to get through. The authors' basic premise that as Christians, we need to think theologically about how to engage with technology is obviously sound, but I didn't need to wade through 200 pages of overly-academic speak in order to get that. As another reviewer mentioned, the authors went to great lengths to set up the metaphor/image of the network, but ultimately it didn't feel like it was integrated well into the rest of the book. They spend way too long talking about the theo This was...a drag to get through. The authors' basic premise that as Christians, we need to think theologically about how to engage with technology is obviously sound, but I didn't need to wade through 200 pages of overly-academic speak in order to get that. As another reviewer mentioned, the authors went to great lengths to set up the metaphor/image of the network, but ultimately it didn't feel like it was integrated well into the rest of the book. They spend way too long talking about the theoretical need to think theologically about technology and what that theoretically entails (e.g. "identifying the teachings within Christianity that can serve as resources to help inform the ways we should think about technology..."), but VERY little time expounding on what they think those teachings are and how exactly they can inform the ways we should think about technology as Christians. They seem far more concerned with creating labels and categories for what they are doing ("networked theology" as "public theology," etc.) than with actually doing the thing. Hello, academia. If I didn't have to read this for class, I'd have put it down long ago. It's not that the content is bad, it's just inaccessible, unfocused and much longer than needed. Their basic answer to the question of how we should engage with technology as faithful Christians: love your neighbor, act justly, love mercy, walk humbly. Great, but it'd have been much more helpful if you gave concrete examples of what that looked like, rather than spend pages and pages justifying the need for that. Your audience understands that these are basic tenets of the Christian faith. We're already (hopefully) convinced of it. The big question is what it means to apply those things in practice, as it relates to technology, and this book didn't really help much with that.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Austin Gravley

    3.5/5 Stars This book had the potential to be a huge must-read for Christians. The research is solid, the conclusions are significant, and the terms and classifications set forth are immensely helpful. And yet, despite the richness of the thoughts presented here, this book was an absolute pain to read. Yes, it’s meant to be an academic work, but it suffers from a higher-than-normal amount of academic verbiage that makes for a highly repetitive, unwieldy text. Were this to be repacked for a popula 3.5/5 Stars This book had the potential to be a huge must-read for Christians. The research is solid, the conclusions are significant, and the terms and classifications set forth are immensely helpful. And yet, despite the richness of the thoughts presented here, this book was an absolute pain to read. Yes, it’s meant to be an academic work, but it suffers from a higher-than-normal amount of academic verbiage that makes for a highly repetitive, unwieldy text. Were this to be repacked for a popular audience someday, I believe this book could be a game changer, but until then, it’s usefulness is limited to those capable of interacting with academic scholarship.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    Good refection on technology and Christian practice for a time when most interaction outside our own household is being conduction in online environments.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    Important read for anyone working in religion today.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Ligon

    An interesting book that takes the time to think through some of the philosophical and theological underpinnings of technology use by Christians. This book was a bit more theoretical and technical than I anticipated, and correspondingly less practical. I did appreciate the basic premise that every community responds to technology in one of three ways: technological optimism (technology is inherently good and will advance the condition of humanity), technological pessimism (which focuses on the d An interesting book that takes the time to think through some of the philosophical and theological underpinnings of technology use by Christians. This book was a bit more theoretical and technical than I anticipated, and correspondingly less practical. I did appreciate the basic premise that every community responds to technology in one of three ways: technological optimism (technology is inherently good and will advance the condition of humanity), technological pessimism (which focuses on the dangers and drawbacks of new technologies), and what the book calls technological ambiguity, but what I think could be called technological pragmatism. This last view holds that technology is neither inherently good nor bad, but must be evaluated carefully and used selectively. "Networked Theology" gives helpful historical background on Christian's responses to technology over the centuries, examines the philosophies behind accepting or rejecting certain technologies, and then attempts to form a theology for a digital age. One concern that I had here was that the authors seem to focus more on a social justice agenda than the gospel. While this book contains much helpful material, it is technical enough that it may only be worth reading for those who want to seriously examine their views of technology. "Networked Theology" is a good book overall, but not very accessible for the average reader. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest, unbiased review. I was not required to give a positive review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kwan Qi Xiang

    Literary quality of writing leaves quite a bit to be desired, but quality of academic legwork, thought, engagement with issues are good. Theology and history could be more grounded, but that would have led to a book double in length. Taken as it is, fairly thought provoking.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mick Connors

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jordan J. Andlovec

    While the concept is worthy of your time for sure, I felt that the execution of it here was too dry and technical to help develop one's own theology of technology and digital culture. The authors built a framework but didn't fill it in, therefore leaving the ideas to ethereal to be helpful. While the concept is worthy of your time for sure, I felt that the execution of it here was too dry and technical to help develop one's own theology of technology and digital culture. The authors built a framework but didn't fill it in, therefore leaving the ideas to ethereal to be helpful.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chelle

  13. 5 out of 5

    S McDonald

  14. 5 out of 5

    John Paul

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jason Kennedy

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christi Tennyson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ev

  19. 4 out of 5

    Subhajit Das

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cory Hendrickson

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carla

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bailey Humphrey

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Lim

  24. 4 out of 5

    Timo

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  27. 4 out of 5

    BLW

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cat Caird

  29. 5 out of 5

    Annalee Ward

  30. 5 out of 5

    David

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