Virtual Lives

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.



Hymn and Worship Service

Inspirational Piece

Book Reviews

  • "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

Study Guides and Lesson Plans (Download the set of five Study Guides)