Synopses & Reviews
The online social network phenomenon has forever changed the way we think about ourselves in relation to our neighbors. But do these massively popular networks actually build community? More Than a Pretty Face invites us to consider the present and future challenges of the Digital Age and offers resources from Lutheran theology, notably from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, that call into question many of the assumptions that support a disembodied understanding of community. What remains is a genuine call for a vibrant theology of embodiment. By recognizing the distinctive features of physical communities, Christians can discern which digital social technologies embrace a view of humanity that necessarily includes the body. There is no need for either the polar extremes of neo-Luddism or the uncritical embrace of all things digital. Rather, Christians are called to respond to needs of the community with empathy, intimacy, and physicality. ""This book addresses a distressing reality for many students in our technological age: they are disengaging from embodied intimacy, retreating to the safety of a digital world. Some are turning to transhumanism as an alternative to religion. This book addresses an urgent topic, and Oesch proves to be an excellent guide through the intersection of current cultural trends and ancient Christian theology."" --Jeff Mallinson, Professor of Theology and Philosophy, Concordia University, Irvine ""The growing impact of online social networks is undeniable. While they bring an amazing breadth of connectedness and communication, the temptation to superficiality and isolation that often accompanies them is troubling. In this provocative book, Joel Oesch considers the impact of OSNs and a careful discernment of their use. In a world of increasingly isolated individuals, Oesch calls for fully embodied community with deep, authentic, and intimate relationships."" --Steven P. Mueller, Dean of Christ College, Concordia University Irvine ""Oesch's perceptive application of the Biblical affirmation of God's created order in its materiality combines with his apt use of Scripture's definition of what it means to be human and provides readers with an astute guide through the thickets of the emerging digital and virtual worlds that offer us in the twenty-first century both blessings and temptations. Employing vital insights from Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Oesch leads readers into a serious and balanced assessment of how contemporary developments in the technology of communication should be employed in the practice of the Christian life and community in our time."" --Robert Kolb, Professor of Systematic Theology, Emeritus, Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis Joel Oesch is Associate Professor of Theology and Director of Graduate Studies in Theology at Concordia University Irvine.