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Embodied Discipleship in a Digital Age

series: Pastoring for Life: Theological Wisdom for Ministering Well

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This book offers theological perspectives on the challenges of discipleship in a digital age, showing how new technologies and the rise of social media affect the way we interact with each other, ourselves, and the world.

Written by a Gen X digital immigrant and a Millennial digital native, Following explores a faithful response to today's technology as we celebrate our embodied roles as followers of Christ in a disembodied time. The authors demonstrate how the ancient practices of our faith, such as fasting, observing the Sabbath, and monasticism, can help us understand and manage our addiction to the newest tools.

About the Series
Pastors are called to help people navigate the profound mysteries of being human, from birth to death and everything in between. This series, edited by leading pastoral theologian Jason Byassee, provides pastors and pastors-in-training with rich theological reflection on the various seasons that make up a human life, helping them minister with greater wisdom and joy.

Series Preface
Introduction: The End Is Near
1. Putting on the New Self
2. A Pastoral Personality
3. The Opposite of Technology
4. Jesus's Own Family
5. Undistracted Friendship
6. The Internet Is (Kind of) a Place
7. Virtual Virtue
8. Daring to Speak for God
Conclusion: No Unmediated God


"This book embodies the Jesus way to see and be in the digital environment. Written as a partnership between a digital immigrant and a digital native, this book shows how the good news of Jesus affirms the good, critiques the dangers, and subverts some of the hidden assumptions of this new virtual land. It is therefore essential reading both for those who are disciples of Jesus and for those who want to know what twenty-first-century discipleship can be."

David Wilkinson, principal and professor of theology and religion, St. John's College, Durham University

"Into this place the church is speaking through the real-time, ongoing conversation that is Following: Embodied Discipleship in a Digital Age. Authors Jason Byassee and Andria Irwin speak into the space between digital utopians and digital skeptics, modeling biblically grounded, theologically informed wrestling with how the church and Christians live out our mission and vocations amid the current technological revolution. Affirming that Christian faith is an inherently mediated one, Byassee and Irwin provide pathways for us all to draw on some of the best resources of our tradition to live faithfully in the present moment."

Deanna A. Thompson, director of the Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community, Martin E. Marty Regents Chair in Religion and the Academy, St. Olaf College

"Both in its form (a dialogue between a pastor from one generation and a theologian from another) and in its content (rich reflections on authentic Christian community in the digital age) this book models how the church can speak into our world."

John Dyer, dean and professor, Dallas Theological Seminary; author of From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology

"This is a much-needed book right now. Technology is as hazardous to a life of discipleship as its fiercest critics contend. And yet, Byassee and Irwin argue, it is also a realm of human existence that is not going away soon and into which God's people have been called to shine the light of the gospel. Having made this bracing claim, the authors ask key questions and provide helpful strategies for navigating this perilous terrain."

Eric O. Jacobsen, lead pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Tacoma, Washington

"Following envisions a journey with others toward an uncertain destination. Byassee and Irwin write to cast theological light for our feet in this awkward but exciting expedition of faith in our digital culture. As fellow pilgrims on the way, they invite us into an urgent conversation that is sober yet hopeful and that may land us at an Emmaus table or an online platform with surprise vistas of Christ."

Andrew Byers, tutor in New Testament, Ridley Hall, Cambridge; author of TheoMedia: The Media of God in the Digital Age

The Authors

  1. Jason Byassee

    Jason Byassee

    Jason Byassee (PhD, Duke University) is senior minister of Timothy Eaton Memorial Church in Toronto, Ontario. He previously taught at Vancouver School of Theology and at Duke Divinity School. He written for the Christian Century, Sojourners, and...

    Continue reading about Jason Byassee

  2. Andria Irwin
    © Octoberswolf Photography

    Andria Irwin

    Andria Irwin (MDiv, Vancouver School of Theology) is the minister of United Online, a church plant initiative of the United Church of Canada.

    Continue reading about Andria Irwin


"[An] insightful exploration of Christian discipleship in the digital age. . . . [The authors] challenge Christians to view technology as a tool and creatively consider how to use it 'to love God and neighbor more.' Christians who are skeptical about technology would do well to pick this up."

Publishers Weekly