Author Interview: John Dyer on Theology and Technology (Part 3 of 3)

Below is the final installment of my interview with John Dyer, a writer not only of technology but also on technology. We recommend his book From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology as a helpful resource for the church in the digital age. For the full interview, click here for Part 1, here for Part 2.

AB: What specifically can we learn about technology from the cross of Christ?

JD: It’s strange to put it this way, but there are lots of more “natural” ways that Jesus could have been killed. For example, he could have been drowned, strangled, stoned, or thrown off a cliff. But by God’s wisdom and design, he was murdered on one of the most horrific machines humankind has ever built, and I don’t think this is a coincidence. Thought the Son all things were made, but sin has distorted his highest creation – humanity – so much so that we have turned against our created. Jesus’s father was a tekton (an artisan or carpenter) who worked with wood and nails and those, too, were distorted and turned against their creator. And yet, in God’s grace, that symbol of death is now a symbol of life for us. So I think the cross tells us about God’s intention to redeem and restore not only humanity, but also human creations. This means that the things humans create are not just throw-away temporary, insignificant things. They are in fact part of the story of God and his people.

AB: Near the end of your book, you write that “technology is for the table.” What do you mean by that?

JD: A “table” is a simple tool (which according to Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, Jesus himself invented!) that orients people toward each other and fosters relationship at some of the deepest levels we will ever experience. Our communications tools, paper, email, Facebook, etc. are great ways to connect, continue, and extend those times at the table. Sometimes communications tools are actually better than sitting a table (for example, Paul writing his epistles was better than if he only spoke in person), but those interactions I think should always point to and uplift the importance of the table. If we find ourselves emphasizing the tools over the table, it might be that our priorities are a bit off. On the other hand, if we can use technology to make our few precious moments at the Table more rich, then that’s wonderful!

AB: Finally, is there anything in my review of your book here at BigBible that you would like to address? You should get the last word on your own book!

JD: Nothing new here from me! I just really appreciate what you and your team to at BigBible to help the Church actively think through the pros and cons of new technology so that we might use it wisely. Thanks!

About AndyByers

I serve as the Chaplain for St Mary's College at Durham University while working on a PhD in the Department of Theology. CODEC has also taken me on to work as a theological consultant of sorts for the BigBible blog. My first book is about cynicism toward the church and disillusionment with God—'Faith Without Illusions: Following Jesus as a Cynic-Saint' (IVP Likewise, 2011). My latest is ‘TheoMedia: The Media of God in the Digital Age’ (Cascade Books, 2013).