A couple of years ago I stumbled on The Church of Facebook (a brilliant book), and I have been enthralled by the intersection between faith and technology ever since. I have been reading nearly everything on the topic, and have been asked recently to do a presentation at my denomination’s general conference this summer on the topic of technology in ministry.
The best part of Challies book is chapter 8, titled “Here Comes Everybody (Truth/Authority)”. This chapter looks at the meaning of truth in a digital age, attempting to understand how “truth by consensus” affects our understanding of Christ as the truth.
With incredible subtlety, Challies draws comparisons between wikipedia and Christian faith. One positive example is the way that everyone’s ability to edit Wikipedia compares with “what Protestants have long believed about the priesthood of all believers, that God dispenses truth not to just a select few but to all of his people.” Although Challies emphasizes the positive side of the Wiki model of truth, he also helps us see the ways it highlights the selfish side of human nature: “the wiki model inherently assumes that humans are generally good and that they will work together to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. This ignores what the Bible tells us, that as sinful humans we are predominatly selfish, looking out for our own good ahead of the good of others. … The wiki model has had to account for human nature and respond to it in different ways, even ways that seem to cast the whole model in doubt. As just one example, certain pages have become so controversial or have seen so much vandalism that they have been locked so only administrators can edit them.”
Do yourself a favor and check this book out!
If you are still not convinced that this is a worthwhile book, maybe this will help: I was so impressed by Challies book that I have been following his blog ever since. Challies determined in 2003 to begin blogging every day, and since then he has blogged every day for over 9 years!! He describes the practice this way: “I treat blogging as nearly a spiritual discipline or as an extension to the other disciplines of reading the Bible and praying. My desire to post something every day that is new and interesting and theologically-correct keeps me turning constantly to the Bible and constantly to good books. It has been very good and healthy for me.” What started as a small project has become one of the most well-read blogs in the Christian world. One of my favorite features of Challie’s blog is what he calls A la Carte, a collection of interesting links from the web that cover a variety of interesting topics. Challies is half the reason I decided to start blogging, and thanks to him, I want my blogging to function as a discipline as well.