The astonishing new information technologies--computers, smart- phones, interactive television, and more--are fraught with moral ambiguity. They can enhance our friendships, extend our knowledge, and overcome barriers of time and distance. But they can also draw us into virtual lives that are careless, unreflective, and unguarded by our moral practices.
To see why mobile connectivity is both compelling and unsettling, Doug Henry distinguishes two ways of desiring information--curiositas and studiositas. Kevin Miller explores what we might learn from complex Amish attempts to use information technology in ways that preserve the meaningfulness of time and wholeness of community.
Robert Woods and Paul Patton provide guidelines for faithfully evaluating media technologies. Heidi Campbell and Paul Teusner review how the Internet is reshaping the authority of religious institutions. Cameron Moore employs C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien's theory of fantastic imagination to evaluate moral decision making within immersive fantasy video games.
The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to examine how new information technologies can shape and misshape our discipleship. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.
Download the entire Virtual Lives issue and the set of five Study Guides. Or, download individual pieces by clicking the titles below.
- "Curiosity and Smartphones," by Douglas V. Henry
- "Technological Prudence: What the Amish Can Teach Us" by Kevin D. Miller
- "Faithful Criticism of Popular Media Technologies," by Robert H. Woods Jr. and Paul D. Patton
- "Religious Authority in the Age of the Internet," by Heidi A. Campbell and Paul Emerson Teusner
- "Making Moral Choices in Video Games," by J. Cameron Moore
- "The Field of Experience and Sensation," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Edward Hopper, New York Movie and Sunlight in a Cafeteria
- "Prayer in a Fourth Dimension," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Salvador Dali, Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)
Hymn and Worship Service
- "Putting Ourselves Out There: Making Our Virtual Lives Virtuous," by Amy R. Grizzle Kane
- "Living Virtuously in the Virtual Age," by Jason Byassee
- Craig Detweiler, ed., Halos and Avatars: Playing Video Games with God
- John Palfrey and Urs Gasser, Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives
- Quentin J. Schultze, Habits of the High-Tech Heart
- "Virtual Reality Comes to Church," by L. Roger Owens
- Douglas Estes, SimChurch: Being the Church in the Virtual World
- Shane Hipps, Flickering Pixels: How Technology Shapes Your Faith
- Jesse Rice, The Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community
- Quentin J. Schultze, High-Tech Worship? Using Presentational Technologies Wisely