“If we are endlessly enmeshed with our digital devices, how can we hope to hear God’s voice or see his and or grasp his heart for those all around us?”. This is one of many questions Tricia McCary Rhodes asks in her latest book, “The Wired Soul”. Taking both current research and scripture, Rhodes asks the hard questions of Christians needing to self-regulate and self-pace ourselves and our digital world. Not one to swear off the internet and all things techy, Rhodes provides a balanced look at how our hyperconnected age is altering our brains, our communication and even our relationships and community as well as practical suggestions and activities to help create whitespace in our lives and re-connect with people the old-fashioned way – eyeball to eyeball.
Please don’t think this is another anti-technology message from a stodgy Christian resistant to change. Far from it! Rhodes recognizes the permanent residence and even importance the digital world has in our lives. More so, she focuses on ways to balance both the negative impact of our hyper-connectedness and our increasing dependence on our digital world.
I absolutely loved that, right out of the gate, she tackled reading and the importance of slow reading and deep thinking. Encouraging her readers to pick up a book and slowly absorb its contents made my heart flutter because too often we’ve grown accustomed to bite-size bits of information and sound bites from the internet and research shows reading online is performed differently than reading a book. Our brain doesn’t absorb all of the info but skims (usually) and we often struggle to retain the information we read online.
The Wired Soul is broken up into four parts: Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio, and Contemplatio. Within each part is a couple of chapters that provoke thought and conviction and then Rhodes provides “Practices” which are an activity that you can carry out to develop some new habits and rhythms in your life when the digital world seems to overstep the boundary.
I absolutely loved this book. Thought-provoking, unsettling research and excellent reminders on the act of being present in the moment and with the people we call family, friends, and community while not forsaking the friends and community we develop online.
I plan to re-read this every couple of years and I also plan to have both of my teens read this book. I feel like this is a “must read” for every believer who wishes to find better balance with technology, hyper-connection and our “real” world life.
*I received a copy of this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest, unbiased review of my own making.