What does it look like to have the fruit of the Spirit in the modern world, with all of our digital media and social divisions? Alongside focused discussions of Scripture, Jay Y. Kim fills his book with timely pastoral and personal stories, illustrating what it looks like to be at human lows and to return to community and love. The fruits of the Spirit form the backbone of the book, outlining the virtues we are searching for while facing modern challenges.
Through the past few years, Kim, like many of us, has struggled with the isolation the pandemic has brought. But, he says, the adverse effects of living our lives digitally began long before 2020 and were exacerbated by staying at home. He contrasts the development of Christian character with the solutions of digital media; it takes time to cultivate relationships and virtue, but hostility and contempt in social media posts come quickly. The antidote is the fruit of the Spirit.
Each fruit is contrasted with a common struggle, each chapter focused on cultivating a fruit of the Spirit. In chapter two, joy opposes comparison. Chapter seven, for example, contrasts gentleness to outrage. The three groupings of the fruit are as in the book’s subtitle, suggesting that the fruit will lead to contentment, resilience, and wisdom. Kim suggests that flourishing in these areas is in particularly short supply in a time inundated with social media and individualism.
Analog Christian reads like an extended sermon series. Kim includes vivid metaphors and emotional stories of people living out love. Some of the stories are inspirational and focus on people choosing peace and gentleness when lives are on the line, and others focus on the much more mundane conversations we have every day. The stories make it clear that, regardless of the apparent stakes, it is worthwhile to embody the fruit of the Spirit. Analog Christian would be good for a study group, and it includes reflective questions at the end of the book.
The book’s emphasis is not on technology, but on Scripture and on relationships. It is about forming character and following the Holy Spirit, rather than focusing on mundane details of handling social media accounts. This centers the discussion and broadens its applicability, leaving room for each reader to consider what technologies might be pulling them down and how to structure their lives and relationships in order to return the focus to loving God and neighbor. (IVP)