Understanding the times - and changing them.
By A. D. Whittaker
Andrew Careaga is uniquely placed to help us understand the times we live in, from a Christian and Internet viewpoint. He's a trained journalist, working in the academic and youth-oriented environment of a university public relations department, and is also a youth pastor. So his insights into postmodernism, youth culture and effective communication are informed by firsthand experience. This is not a theoretical abstract book in any way.
Neither is it about technical web issues or even primarily about what Christians are doing to use the Internet for evangelism (the subject of his previous book 'E-vangelism'). The main focus is the modern world and what he terms the 'N-generation' (web-savvy young people) and how we can effectively communicate with them online.
The quotations and footnotes display a wide breadth of research, understanding and insight. At the end of each chapter are topics for further investigation and questions to consider. Some are very appropriate for small group/seminar discussion.
This very readable book deserves the widest possible circulation. There is just no other book which even attempts to cover the same ground. It should be required course reading for Bible college and seminary students. For anyone who wishes to understand issues of relating to the modern world through the Web, it's essential.
It is still largely true that the church has yet to realize the significance of the Internet and how it is changing society. As Christians, we can so easily be 10-20 years behind in our understanding and methods. But "the past is a different country". We cannot engage with today's culture without understanding it. Unless we do, we may condemn ourselves to being only easily able to reach the 'once-churched' instead of the 'never-churched'.
Therefore we must all have an advocacy role in enlightening the wider church about the power and effectiveness of the Internet - something which this book can achieve. I would encourage us all to do everything we can to cause this book to be read as widely as possible:
- ask your local library and church bookstall to stock it
- write a review of the book for Christian publications or on websites
- publicize it any other way you can - create a link directly to this Amazon page
Beyond the paradigms of Christian Internet books
What makes this book such interesting reading is that the author is a journalist, volunteer youth pastor, and a self-professed lover and user of the Internet from online chess to chatrooms. Many Christian Internet books in the past have either been written by either Christian sociologists or by divinity school college professors who were forced to use, but not necessarily embrace the Internet technology. It is this difference in mentality and background that easily allows Mr. Careaga to see outside the box of paradigms and show us how the latest toy, research tool, and communications media know as the Internet is the ripest harvest field for Christians to glean for souls in years. Answering the call of the postmodern generation's quest for spirituality, the author delves into the motivations, attention spans, actions, and feelings of the "N-Generation", the new generation of net-savvy people. In fact, the "N-generation" is actually the first generation of people to be exposed to the wonders (and in some cases, the darkness) of the Internet since their birth. This is a book that is needed now in order to understand postmodern culture and their fascination with the virtuality of the Internet. I recommend this book to those who desire to understand the need to effectively communicate the love of Jesus to the postmodern world. We clearly see how to fulfill the Great Commission online and fully see the mandate to take the 2000 year old message of Jesus Christ to the year 2000 generation using year 2000 technology.