Published on February 5, 2014
CODEC @CODECUK; @BIGBIBLE Dr Bex Lewis, Research Fellow in Social Media and Online Learning, CODEC, St John‟s, Durham University
HOW DO WE COMMUNICATE AN ANCIENT FAITH IN A DIGITAL WORLD?
Commissioned Research, Methodist Church Anonymity • Anonymous vs Pseudonymous • Theology of anonymity, including questions of power: “If the weak use anonymity to try to level the playing field against the powerful or wealthy (basically the Arab Spring argument) then few of us have a problem with that. When the powerful (or relatively powerful) use anonymity to reinforce their inherent power then we see it as wrong.” Privacy • As such, the key fact to remember is that your data, your church‟s data, and the Church‟s data is unlikely to represent a level of abnormality which would be of interest even in a “surveillance-addicted” society. If we lived in a police state where religion was prohibited, then the algorithms would highlight the Church and its officers and members as targets. But we don‟t.
The Church Front Door? For many churchgoing is no longer the „cultural norm‟. People don‟t actively ignore the church: they don‟t even think about it. Matthew 5:13-16 calls us to be salt and light in the world, and for thousands in the „digital age‟, that world includes social networks such Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest. With literally billions in the digital spaces, the online social spaces presented by churches need to be appealing, welcoming, and not look like they are just an afterthought: they are now effectively the ‘front door’ to your church for digital users, and you ignore those spaces at your peril. http://www.churchgrowthrd.org.uk/blog/churchgrowth/g rowing_churches_in_the_digital_age Image Credit: Sxc.hu
Published by Lion Hudson 21 February 2014
Regional Projects http://www.goodnewsforeveryage. org.uk http://bigbible.org.uk/2013/09/the-highs-andlows-of-our-digipilgrim-experiencevideopodcast/
Data Centre with iARC Religion in a Digital Age • provide a cache and storehouse of data not • • • • • • • held elsewhere give access to a network of remote data sites offer search and retrieval processes for both archived and remote data promote cross pollination of data resources discover or create new data sources and syntheses develop new ways to visualise and analyse data searches and findings enable management of data resources and technology and, where appropriate manage intellectual property rights applicable to that data secure the preservation and guardianship of data and to share some of the innovative methods from data-trained researchers at the centre. Work Package e.g. Our Photoshopped Selves? • Increasingly first contact is being made online, and Turkle refers to the „second self‟ or „photoshopped self‟ that we produce online – a deliberately created self in which we share only those things that make us look good (or part of the crowd), and those that are easy to share, without taking the time to think.
Emotion Wall, Propaganda Exhibition, British Library 2013
As with other communication revolutions, the church needs to be encouraged and at times cautioned by the opportunities and challenges for the gospel by its transmission in a new media. For example: • How do we theologically support young people who want to use the • • • • • web to share their faith – they have no problems with the technology, they want some help with the apologetic approach and personal security issues. What does discipleship and accountability look like for the person who spends much of their working and leisure time on-line? How do help Christians understand, interpret, critique and use the media dominated culture in which they live? Can the web do more for education, evangelism and empowerment than simply broadcasting a video of someone giving a lecture? How do the expectations of the person in the pew differ when encountering a sermon in a digital age? As we become more and more dependent on technology to download our memories, extend our ability to communicate and to have our physical attributes enhanced – what does it mean to be human?
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