A Review of: #Struggles: Following Jesus In a Selfie-Centered World.

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Technology and social media is taking over the world so says Craig Groeschel in this book.

He admits to struggling with technology and loving being in places where his phone doesn’t work. He says this upfront and tries throughout the book to use technology for the glory of God. He puts forward ways in which we master social media without it becoming our master. I love the idea of looking to see the good in a thing rather than immediately dismiss a thing as bad.

So digging a bit deeper the book is divided into eight chapters:

In the first he discusses the problems with making comparisons with other social media users, he wisely says we will battle with discontent until Christ is all we need.

In the second chapter he looks at the way social media has changed the way we interface with each other. The people who take selfies together and compare likes on their FB page, the instagram post that doesn’t get as many likes as the author would like. Even friendship means something else in this new era of technology. In this age Craig argues for more intimate relationships, really get to know people – in the flesh.

Revealing authority, the third chapter talks about the perfect person we put “out there” and hide the real us from the world. But unless we get honest and vulnerable in that honesty we don’t grow. Alternatively there are those people who share too much on their social media, they have spousal arguments that play out on FB. He suggests we ask Jesus to remove the veil – pretty scary, huh!

In the next chapter Craig tackles the desensitisation we encounter by seeing too many graphic images. Obviously this applies to inappropriate images that we just should not look at. But equally the news images of starving children or Christians beheaded. As we see more of these images – we get used to them. We need to see something more horrific to feel compassion. Take a breath. We need to get off our computers and go do something. Compassion requires action.

In the rest of the book Craig points out the worship or idolatry we hold our social media pages. We are overwhelmed in a world where “Self” rules. We have the power to unfriend, block, poke or friend a person.

The book is a really good sound byte of the world of social media. Now doubt by next year it will seem aged because we will have found a new vanity, a new level of self idolatry that at the moment seems so far away. This morning two women were having coffee, they were using sign language to converse, one of them had a baby in a high chair who was watching a cartoon on the phone. We are in for the shock of our virtual reality lives when we realise what we have done to our children, by not interacting them. Time will tell. This book is a perfect gift for someone who is unaware that they are worship at the FB idol, or parents of teenagers concerned about self image and worth. Makes an ideal Christmas present and if social media isn’t your gig, every aspect of your life can benefit from this work.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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