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The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  798 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Even the least technical among us are being pressed from all sides by advances in digital technology. We rely upon computers, cell phones, and the Internet for communication, commerce, and entertainment. Yet even though we live in this “instant message” culture, many of us feel disconnected, and we question if all this technology is really good for our souls. In a manner ...more
Hardcover, 204 pages
Published April 19th 2011 by Zondervan (first published March 28th 2011)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Joey by: Christian Audio
Shelves: audio-books
I listened to this audio book from Christian Audio. There was an element of irony when the author was talking about the negative effect that digital techonology has on our attention span, while I was listening to the book at double speed to get through it more quickly.

There was an interesting history of technological advances in here as well as a discussion about internet narcissism/privacy issues, a conflicting desire to be seen and not to be seen.

I enjoyed the discussion of how technology has
May 06, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Free digital download available during the month of May at

Steve Penner
May 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
I did not find this book engaging and I'm not sure why. From the comments of the book club and the ratings here, I am totally out of step, but that's not unusual. Maybe I have read most of the ideas before in other places, so it had little real impact on the way I do life and handle technology. Maybe because I think the fears are overblown. Technological change--from the rise of agriculture to the industrial revolution to the digital transformation--always elicits change in our lifestyles, use ...more
Dec 31, 2012 rated it liked it
I reviewed Tim Challies' book "The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment" about a year ago. I used to subscribe to his blog, but in an exercise similar to one he recommends in "The Next Story", I unsubscribed because of a lack of personal value for the time reading.

My review of "The Next Story" will be different, because I listened to it in the form of an audiobook. It was one of Christian Audio's freebies at one point. I wasn't sure if I should try to review it, or how to review it. With a paper
Justin Lonas
May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Canadian pastor, author, and blogger Tim Challies has long been recognized as an insightful voice on cultural and technological issues facing the Church. His website ( often features product reviews of new devices and he frequently wrestles with the theological implications of new technologies in his blog posts.

In The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion, Challies attempts to make a more comprehensive statement about the relationship between technology and the
Joel Arnold
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
I applaud Challies' work to present a biblical evaluation of technology. On the other hand, I felt that his philosophy was strongly influenced by the Mcluhan / Postmanesque media ecology that goes looking for evil lurking under every circuit board and behind every glowing screen. He made a few good points with a lot of rather unhelpful points in between. Overall, I would read From the Garden to the City if you simply must read a book on the Christian view of technology. I'm not sure that it is ...more
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid, simple read with applicable wisdom. Highly recommended read for anyone interested in media/technology and its impact on culture, faith and society.
Jonathan Roberts
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, own
This is a spectacular book. So very good and timely. Now grated some will put their noses up because a book on technology written in 2011 (updated 2015) is so out of date, but the concepts are totally biblical and something all christians need to read, especially parents. I am reminded of when I was first exposed to Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves To Death, and have always wanted to read more in that vein but from a Christian worldview, and I have found it in this book. Highest recommendation!!
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I actually listened to this rather than read it. It was such an interesting book. It made me think a lot about how and why I use technology and how technology affects how we think about truth. It talks about how our use of technology changes how our brains work as well. I don't want to spend quite so much time on the computer anymore...This book is definitely worth a read!
Johnny Mcclean
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
Absolutely fantastic analysis that is a vital read for anyone who feels (like me) that digital life, communication speed, information overload is getting overwhelming.
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Technology is the creative activity of using tools to shape God’s creation for practical purposes.2
Location: 369

God made us creative beings in his image and assigned to us a task that would require us to plumb the depths of that creativity. He knew that to fulfill our created purpose we would need to be innovative, developing new tools and means of utilizing the resources and abilities that he had given to us. In other words, obedience to God requires that we create technology. This tells us
Craig Hurst
May 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Do you own your technology or does your technology own you? This is a deeply probing and provocative question. “Am I giving up control of my life? Is it possible that these technologies are changing me? Am I becoming a tool of the very tools that are supposed to serve me (p. 11)?” Answering these questions put Tim Challies on a quest which resulted in his recent book The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion.

Whether we want to be or not we are all plugged into technology. Some
I'm always looking for introductory books that guide us in how to live in this technological age, and The Next Story showed itself as a worthy option. Most of the book was quite good. He talks about a lot of the challenges and sets a helpful framework for thinking through technology as Christians. He articulates well some of the challenges of Wikipedia, google searches, and information glut. The book handles all of this quite well. Overall, it is a helpful book that I would recommend to people ...more
Andrew Wolgemuth
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith, audio
Five years after it's publication, this book remains a helpful, insightful resource for thinking Christianly about technology.

While the hot devices and apps have changed somewhat during the last five years, Challies' reflections on Communication (the challenges and the responsibilities of improved means of broadcast community), Mediation (what changes when we're not face-to-face with those we're communicating with?), Distraction (the difficulty of thinking deeply in the digital age),
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A little slow to start as he gives history and background that wasn’t really news to me. I didn’t agree with his take that anyone born in the 80s is a digital native. But shortly after that but he started to hit upon some really interesting points and striking some nerves that caught my attention. This book provoked a lot of thoughts for me. I found it was realistic and helpful, but not alarmist. Definitely worthwhile read if you: feel like you might be a tool to your tools, aren’t sure how to ...more
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Should be required reading, Tim did a lot of research and provided a very detailed explanation about the digital world and the effects it is having. "Have we perhaps grown a little too comfortable with digital technology, our fancy gadgets and beeping devices? Is there a hidden cost to using them, a price we must pay to enjoy their benefits? How exactly are these technologies changing us? And are these changes good?"
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is definitely a thought provoking book. The start of it was slow and a bit difficult to grasp his framework but the application of his points leads one to seriously think through the footprint he leaves in this digital world. Technology isn't evil but we have to think about the affect it has on us and how our faith works in this digital world.

Definitely worth a read.
Carter Hemphill
This is a excellent book about the implications of technology and how they can provide both negative and positive consequences. This book really made me think about the impact technology and to be more cautious in assuming that technological innovation should always be welcomed.
Kevin Burrell
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great points to consider. I especially appreciated the concepts of truth by consensus (a la Wikipedia) and truth by relevance (a la Google algorithms) as contrasted with the objective truth we are called to seek.
Excellent book! Challies spend a lot of time talking about the theology, history, and philosophy of technology before getting into practical application. Great resource!
Nate Bate
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this over 10 years ago. It was the first book I read of a Christian author dealing with this. I remember it being challenging and helpful. I hope to read it again some day.
Jim Taylor
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very insightful about how technology has subtly changed us in monumental ways.
Gavin Meeples
Jun 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Pastorally sound and filled with good advice on how to live in a way that will please God in the digital age. However, his analysis of technolgy and tech companies is shallow and pretentious.
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminds us to think before buying any new technology, asking ourselves questions like:

What, if any, legitimate problem(s) in my life will this new gadget solve? What problems will it create?

Will this technology make more or less provision for my current idol(s) and addiction(s) (e.g., gossip, always being "in the know," workaholism/ungodly ambition/unceasing desire for "productivity" at the expense of relationships with the Lord and others, loneliness resulting from
Steve Hemmeke
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
“The Next Story” by Tim Challies

Tim Challies is a popular blogger and knows the digital world. This book helps us think carefully about ourselves as we email, text, blog and surf the web. I really enjoyed it. Ironically (full disclosure, here), I listened to the whole thing… on my iPhone.

The digital world is a real and significant change. We store and process information very differently than 30 years ago. Publishing and reading patterns have changed because things are now digital. Publishing
Tim Challies book The Next Story is a masterpiece in its field. The book effectively engages with all the primary practical imports of technology to drive home the principle that using technology for the glory of God is both a challenge and an opportunity for Christians (blurb).[return][return]Challies book is quite unique, in a Christian book field with few comparable books. Three things, however, make it a book to treasure.[return][return]Firstly, Challies deals with technology from the ...more
Jan 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian
A good book, considering the impacts that digital technology has had on people today, especially within the church.

The beginning of the book is largely a recapitulation of Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman. This section proved to be a rather awkward read for me, hearing old ideas being recast for a different audience. Challies did a good job here, but did present himself in the same confident, poignant manner that Postman did so many years
Martin Bour
Nov 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think Tim Challies did a nice job of setting a balanced context for this digital world that we live in.

Laptops, tablets and phones have become a regular part of our daily lives. Our phones are with us every moment of the day. We think we have it all under control, but maybe the table is turned. Maybe we are under the control of the technology in our lives.

We know that technology is changing us and our culture, but it is difficult to know how to frame that discussion. That is what this book is
Mar 18, 2016 rated it liked it
I chose this book for the "book about a current issue" category. Although this book has resided in our shelves in hard copy form for years, I decided to give it a go as an audio book. I felt like even though I am a very comfortable resident in the digital age, it wouldn't hurt to continue to develop a philosophy of digital technology use - especially as a Christian.

Since this book was published five years ago, it only makes sense in our fast moving world that it already feels outdated. Much of
Mandy J. Hoffman
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books, i-own

So many times I am find myself wondering how I managed without a cell phone...or how I would contact people without Facebook...or how inconvenient it would be without wifi in our home...and sometimes I even wonder how I learned without twitter. And this is exactly what - and so much more! - Tim Cahllies deals with in this book: The Next Story.

I "read" the audio version of this book and because it was not a book that I wanted to read but rather knew I should read. The audio format was
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Tim Challies is a leading evangelical blogger and editor of Discerning Reader, a site dedicated to discerning reviews of books that are of interest to Christians. A self-employed web designer, Tim lives in the outskirts of Toronto, Ontario with his wife and three children.
“By giving us control, our new technologies tend to enhance existing idols in our lives. Instead of becoming more like Christ through the forming and shaping influence of the church community, we form, and shape, and personalize our community to make it more like us. We take control of things that are not ours to control. Could it be that our desire for control is short-circuiting the process of change and transformation God wants us to experience through the mess of real world, flesh and blood, face-to-face relationships?” 16 likes
“We deliberately forget because forgetting is a blessing. On both an emotional level and a spiritual level, forgetting is a natural part of the human experience and a natural function of the human brain. It is a feature, not a bug, one that saves us from being owned by our memories. Can a world that never forgets be a world that truly forgives?” 10 likes
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