The Life We’re Looking For: Reclaiming Relationship in a Technological World

Human beings' desire for recognition goes deep and technology can get in the way.

Andy Crouch
Convergent Books, 240 Pages | Published April 19, 2022

We often hear that technology is taking over the world, not to mention ruining our relationships. Unfortunately, connecting with others only through social media has led to some very lonely people. Author Andy Crouch based The Life We’re Looking For: Reclaiming Relationship in a Technological World on this premise. From our very birth, we desire recognition; now, even our phones can recognize us! But human nature desires deeper recognition, and rather than enabling us to be fully known, technology can get in the way.

In the first section, Crouch looks at the many “ways of being human we have lost as we have become embedded in a world of money, machines, and devices,” and then suggests ways to avoid allowing these to distract us so completely. Woven throughout modern examples and stories of our dependence are stories about the people of Corinth during the time of the Roman emperor Nero. Many early Christians were not fully recognized as people. Those who were not Roman citizens, those accused of a crime and those who were slaves were considered property rather than people. Women and children were only considered people in relation to the head of the household, thus if they were widowed or orphaned, they had no standing.

We are reminded of the many ways that we are not just people, but people that matter, and because we are created in the image of God, we have worth and value. “And because all of us are born with that hope [that we are born into a world where someone is looking for them… where they will be recognized, known, and loved], the hope of recovering personhood in our time is far from lost.”

Crouch groups together all the things that have power over us: money, technology, global power and more. Society often says that, if we have all of these things, we have all we need. Crouch summarizes these in a nice little ball called Mammon (the Aramaic word from Matthew often translated as money or wealth). “By the first centuries of the Christian church, teachers and bishops had concluded that in using the name Mammon, Jesus had in mind not just a concept but a demonic power. Money, for Jesus, was not a neutral tool but something that could master a person every bit as completely as the true God. Mammon is not simply money but the anti-God impetus that finds its power in money.”

To counteract Mammon’s grip on our lives, Crouch calls us to refocus, and to look at the small impactful things. Someone terminally ill is concerned not with tech and power, but with personal connection, and knowing that they are not alone. A household can be a place of being seen, noticed and loved, in which loneliness is overcome by connection.

In the end, we circle back to ancient Corinth, where faithful followers of Christ began to connect with each other. “For now, they surround us like a great cloud of witnesses, watching eagerly to see how we, in our own time, will restore persons, will name the unnamed, will care for the vulnerable, will play a part in the restoration of all things.” These witnesses support us, and our communities, uniting us across the generations.

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