Book Review: Ecologies of faith in a digital age: Spiritual growth through online education

Recently I had a book review published with the Journal of Research on Christian Education. You can read the full review through your library.

Ecologies of Faith in a Digital Age: Spiritual Growth through Online Education by [Lowe, Stephen D., Lowe, Mary E.]

The book is available through Amazon as a Kindle version or paperback.

I highly recommend that you read the book, particularly if you’re involved in faith-based online education. The book sparked some interesting questions to think about:

  1. What are some examples in the Bible of using nature/creation as an illustration for spiritual growth?
  2. What lessons can we extract from those illustrations in the Bible of what a digital environment should be like in order to support spiritual growth?
  3. What are some ways to do the “one another” phrases from Paul’s writings – together online? i.e. “build up one another”, “comfort one another” as as few examples.

Here’s a snippet of my book review to inspire you:

Lowe and Lowe argue that the natural is not just a metaphor for the spiritual; that Scripture does not support Plato’s division between the natural and the spiritual. God’s methods of gardening are evident both in the natural world and in our spiritual growth and are “identical” between them (p. 41). The proper spiritual ecology will provide the “requisite spiritual nutrients” for growth (p. 48) and several chapters go in depth exploring kingdom growth as described in the Bible using plant ecology and the human body ecosystem (Paul). As Christians, we are expected to “mutually assist each other” (p. 66) even in digital ecologies. As I have personally experienced, and heard others describe, the work of the Holy Spirit connects believers across distance (p. 73). As Lowe and Lowe argue, critics of online community seem to “contradict orthodox Christian theology” regarding the “communion believers enjoy with Christ through the Spirit” (p. 73) by suggesting that community cannot happen online. Lowe and Lowe make the Scriptural case that in fact, Biblical spiritual growth can happen at a distance through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Lim, J. (2019). Book review: Ecologies of faith in a digital age: Spiritual growth through online education. Journal of Research on Christian Education, 28(1), 84-87, doi: 10.1080/10656219.2019.1593009

Your Turn

  • What challenges do you face in faith-based online learning?
  • What do you think we can learn from Paul, as one of the first distance missionaries (think of all his letters as distance education)?
  • What have we learned from research on online communities that connects to spiritual growth online?

Feel free to comment!

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