12 Reasons I love Tony Reinke’s 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You

By Pam Tailyour, 29 May 2020

12 Reasons I love Tony Reinke’s 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You

1. Tony Reinke is not an arrogant smartphone-basher or smartphone-phobe.

2. Technology isn't new - and neither are the problems it brings.

‘The good-bad-ugly mix of technology came to particularly obnoxious expression at the Tower of Babel, an attempt to consolidate all known building innovation to build a rebel city…Babel was man’s attempt to hijack technology and to fabricate an entire society and religious life in rebellion to the Creator.’[1]

This book is for you even if you don’t own a smart phone. The builders of Babel in Genesis 11 could have read this. The trap of all kinds of technology has always existed and we all use it in some form or another, so getting to know its pitfalls and benefits is good for all of us.

3. The book makes us zoom back out to the big picture.

When I'm on my phone, I don't notice anyone or anything else. I'm sucked once again into my world. My life. My little universe that revolves entirely around me. Reinke gave me a much-needed look from a very different angle. Technology has been a thing since people walked the earth, not just since I owned a phone. Technology has always served a purpose - to make a job easier, more efficient or effective. However, smart phones have dramatically changed so many things all at once.

4. I'm still a Christian when I'm on my phone.

Yes, this means that how I use it, when I use it, how often I use it, what I use it for, how I influence others to use it, how I affect others who use them, the example I set to Christians and non Christians with it, all this should be for One Person's glory alone. And it's not mine.

5. It left me with nowhere to hide.

6. It painfully, humiliatingly and biblically exposed some of the darkest parts of my filthy heart (that were put to use in overtime when on my phone) – expressly forgetfulness.

‘The Bible cuts into our hearts with a living and active memory for daily life in the digital age… All spiritual growth is rooted in remembering what Christ has done in me.’[2]

As Peter writes: ‘For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love… For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. (2 Peter 1:5-7,9).

7. It has changed me as a mum.

Am I really being winsome for the gospel of the one true King when: after every nappy, before each meal, during all hours of play time, while trying to shush-pat, cook, clean, tidy, sing to, push the pram, shop, sit in the car (every moment my sons are with me - which feels like every moment!) all I do is snatch a moment to be on my phone. Oh dear, no.

8. It couldn't be more counter-cultural.

Digital consumerism is directly at odds with many of the most fundamental convictions of the gospel. Spiritual authenticity is measured by faith in unseen God, not by confidence in the visible consumables of our age.[3]

9. It's rich in the wisdom of the Bible and others who love the Bible dearly.

Two things that make any Christian book a good book: firstly, bars of pure gold from The Book itself; secondly, flakes of gold from others that show off The Book’s riches. (Read Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books also by Tony Reinke).

10. Believe it or not - how you use technology really does affect your spiritual life, for better or for worse.

I never ever want to exchange my promised eternal Christ-won glory, for forty likes on Instagram. Never. So I deleted it.

11. I didn't want to read it.

When John spotted this book at a friend's house in the kitchen one evening, he looked through it briefly then looked at me and gave it a little wave. I knew exactly what this meant, he was thinking ‘Pam you should read this.’ And I didn't like it one bit. It came up in conversation over dinner. It ‘just so happened’ this friend had two copies and she gave one of them to me. Pff. My excuses for not reading it were getting slim - and slimmer still when John suggested we read it together. Great.

Haven't you often found that when you haven't wanted to go to church is when you've needed it and enjoyed it the most? That's exactly what happened with this book.

12. The gospel really does have everything to do with how I use my phone.

And if it's not how I use my phone it's something else. The gospel still applies. ‘God is the sovereign King who will not bow to our gadget mastery.’

[1] Tony Reinke, 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2017), 41.
[2] Tony Reinke, 12 Ways, 33.
[3] Tony Reinke, 12 Ways, 188.
[4] Tony Reinke, 12 Ways, 138