Author: Craig Detweiler
Genre: Christian Living
Selfies are ubiquitous. They can be silly or serious, casual or curated. Within moments, smart phone users can capture their image and post it across multiple social media platforms to a global audience. But do we truly understand the power of image in our image-saturated age? How can we seek God and care for each other in digital spaces?
Craig Detweiler, a nationally known writer and speaker and an avid social media user, examines the selfie phenomenon, placing selfies within the long history of self-portraits in art, literature, and photography. He shows how self-portraits change our perspective of ourselves and each other in family dynamics, education, and discipleship. Challenging us to push past unhealthy obsessions with beauty, wealth, and fame, Detweiler helps us to develop a thoughtful, biblical perspective on selfies and social media and to put ourselves in proper relation to God and each other. He also explains the implications of social media for an emerging generation, making this book a useful conversation starter in homes, churches, and classrooms. Each chapter ends with discussion questions and a photo assignment for creating a selfie in response to the chapter.
Reviewer: Eva-Joy Schonhaar
I have taken perhaps twenty selfies in almost as many years of my life. Only twenty. So in some ways I found it difficult to grasp Craig Detweiler's points regarding how obsessed the average teen can be with taking selfies, editing selfies, using selfies to tell a story, and looking for affirmation through selfies. On the other hand, this book wasn't just about selfies, but dealt with social media in a broader sense as well as narcissism - its origins and its dangers.
I found direct parallels between Selfies and the writings of Francis Schaeffer, particularly in Chapter 3 - "A Renaissance of the Self" (of course, because Schaeffer is well-known for writing about the Renaissance). Like Schaeffer, Detweiler looks at popular culture (both past and present) as a lens through which we can interpret our ideas of God, Christianity, and the world in general.
There were some theological points that I didn't agree with as I read Selfies. The one that sticks out most in my mind being the idea that God is not confined to being masculine, but can also be perceived as being female. I just...I have a lot of issues with that personally. There were also a couple photos of nude statues in the second chapter and some language I didn't appreciate.
However, I still thoroughly enjoyed Selfies. It was a thought-provoking read with a lot of good things to say about how we are created in the image of God, how God sees us, how we see God, and how there should always be mercy and grace extended in our dealings with each other. Excellent book, recommended to mature readers who would like a Christian perspective on how social media - and selfies/images in particular - have a place in our lives and our worldview.
Book provided courtesy of Brazos Press and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.