The Wired Soul
I couldn't wait to read Tricia McCary Rhodes' new book, The Wired Soul: Finding Spiritual In A Hyperconnected Age. Lately, I've been noticing how technology has seemingly crept into absolutely every area of life - from smart appliances to smart phones, from smart watches to smart glasses. Even children's toys now are all technological - children's laptops, tablets, books readers, and more. Personally, I've been making a concerted effort to try to dial down the amount of technology in my own life, by limiting my time online, basically quitting social media, etc. My smart phone broke recently and I'm currently using an old non-smart phone - and I'm actually loving it and not all too eager to replace it with a new smart phone. I've also noticed how technology and social media have crept into the church - every Sunday I see people (not just teenagers - adults, too!) playing games on their smart phones or iPads during service, texting, taking selfies, and checking Facebook. I also find it irritating when people use their phones or tablets to read the Bible on an app instead of bringing their actual Bible to church. For all these reasons and more, I was eager to see what Rhodes had to say about this issue. The book description reads:
"If you had time to slow down, you’d notice: You’re more easily distracted lately. You forget the details of your life more often than you used to. You get easily agitated and have trouble resting, even though you’re more tired than you remember ever being. Even your spiritual life is not immune: You struggle to pray, to read the Scriptures, to be still and know that God is God.
Welcome to now. Our technology has greatly improved much of our lives, but in the process our brains are being rewired on a daily basis, and our capacity to be centered in our souls, in our lives, is at risk.
Brain scientists are aware of this unprecedented change, but the solutions aren’t found in science: They’re found in the ancient practices of the faith. Tricia McCary Rhodes reintroduces us to the classic disciplines of Scripture reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation, not just as technologies to aid our faith but as tools to keep us focused and mindful in an increasingly disorienting digital age."
This is an absolutely necessary must-read for ever Christian today. I enjoyed that it was written from the perspective of a digital immigrant - born in 1984, I am in the awkward in-between category. I'm not a digital immigrant, but I'm not a digital native either (although my children, born between 2002-2009, are). I worry how this constant connectivity will affect their lives. I can remember life pre-cell phones, but they won't. I can remember life pre-social media, but they won't. With that in mind, I was reading this book with an open mind to change the spiritual lives of both myself and my children. The Wired Soul is divided into four parts: Lectio (reading and deep thinking), Meditatio (deep breathing and meditating), Oratio (prayer), and Contemplatio (contemplation). Tricia brings us through each area with practices to implement in our lives to help us connect - not with social media, but with God. She cautions us that simply reading this book won't effect any lasting change; we have to put into practice all of these disciplines until they become habits. I, for one, plan to put these things into practice in my own life, and can only hope that other Christians do as well, before it's too late. I highly, highly recommend this book to every Christian.
I received a copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.