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Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Rising from the Ashes - Week 5
Sorry this is posted a bit late in the day, but I wanted to wrap up this month's discussion of Becky Garrison's Rising from the Ashes. One question that was addressed in the final chapter "Moving Forward" was that of how those interviewed saw technology (blogs, podcasts) as tools to advance the gospel. Technology often plays a prominent role in emerging church and is the main point of connection for quite a few. Obviously we here use technology as a way to engage in conversation which otherwise wouldn't be possible, so I was interested in the responses given to this question. To quote a few -

Nadia Bolz-Weber - "Technology is neutral. The intentionality around its use is what makes it work for good or evil. ... I see me blog as a ministry, a little piece of the Internet for the lunatic fringe of the church." (p. 156)

Cheryl Lawrie - "Only have blogs or podcasts if you have something to say. Technology shouldn't be automatic tool. It isolates and divides communities as much as it brings us together." (p. 158)

Kester Brewin
- "Blogging will settle down. There's currently too much noise... too many people talking for it really to be called a conversation."

Isaac Everett
- "When the gospel was translated into German and people could read the Bible for themselves, it changed theology and it changed the church. Blogs and podcasts are doing similar things; they're leveling the playing field and allowing anyone to be published. Authority and influence aren't mediated commodities anymore."

What is your take on the role of technology in spreading the gospel?

Are there dangers in using mediums like blogs and podcasts?

Do you see blogs as creating too much noise or as means of leveling the field and letting the marginalized have a voice?

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posted by Julie at 9:51 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 1/29/2008 10:14:00 PM, Blogger Lydia

    Blogging will settle down. There's currently too much noise... too many people talking for it really to be called a conversation

    The flip side of this, though, is a movement in which most of the conversation occurs among WASP-y, heterosexual, middle-aged men...many of whom are pastors. That's a pretty small niche, and it can lead to some pretty skewed ideas.

    I don't think the solution to this problem is to prune the number of voice as much as I think it is to have multiple conversations.

    I don't know what your families are like, but when my extended family gets together there can be five or six simultaneous, sometimes-overlapping conversations throughout dinner. It's sometimes a little overwhelming, but it's also informative (I learn a lot of family history by listening!) and entertaining.

    Do you see blogs as creating too much noise or as means of leveling the field and letting the marginalized have a voice?

    The latter.

  • At 1/29/2008 10:25:00 PM, Blogger Deb

    Technology is a tool... but it is not the only one we can use. It is not "evil" or "good"... it just is. Like turnips. You can eat them (or not), throw them, or let them rot. Sorry that was an oversimplification, but I think that Nadia Bolz-Weber said it well. It is neutral.

    There's been some snarky postings around the web about "only posting if you have something to say." I don't think I have met a human being yet who didn't have "something to say!" In an era where soundbites and money control what we hear on the news or read in magazines or papers, I am convinced more than ever that the "noise" is actually making it easier for voices which have been silenced to be heard. Finally.

    There are people who are not heard. I do not dismiss the needs of those who don't have a modem to the world. For those who have a passion for the disenfranchised and ignored, we CAN (and do) speak for them.

    I wonder if I would have written almost 500 small "articles" and had them published if I didn't have a blog? Admittedly, some are for fun, some are kvetching and some are less than inspiring. But still.

    My goal is that my daughters will not have to sit and listen to poor theology and have it limit the way they utilize their God-given gifts!

    [stepping off soapbox for next person!]


  • At 1/30/2008 04:05:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    Excellent points Lydia and Nadia. I agree on the principle that every human being has something to say, something to add to the conversation and its flavor.

    I think a danger of blogging is that it is often reactive, rather than reflective and up-building. In my view, this is where the "noise" comes in. It is not how many people speak, but how many people listen before speaking (again) that creates a healthy online conversation and flat community of faith-exploring people.

  • At 2/01/2008 11:59:00 AM, Blogger Jessica

    Hi, I'm a long time lurker but have felt compelled to comment...

    Are there dangers in using mediums like blogs and podcasts?

    People that have never had a platform before or a voice are now able to be heard. Any time free speech is expanded in this country is good. That means we take the good with the bad. Would the emergent church movement be where if it weren't for blogs and podcasts? If it were not for a friend of a friend's blog I would not have found emergent women or about the emergent church movement.

    Yes, people are messed up and say messed up things. I think the most dangerous thing that could happen with blogs and podcast if we start to censor. Be honest, be raw, be authentic, be reactionary, be thoughtful, be emotional, be different.

    Use everything and every tool that is at our disposal to share the hope of Jesus Christ.

    I too shall step down from my soap box and give someone else a turn.

  • At 2/02/2008 12:31:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Jessica thanks for the comments and feel free to jump in anytime!

    I remember before I started a blog thinking - what gives me the right or authority to write stuff for the world to see? I thought I needed some sort of permission or invitation to use my voice. I eventually started my blog, but kept it mostly to post book reviews and pictures of my kid. I was too scared to give my real thoughts on most stuff - mostly because of the possibility of family members reading my blog. I had to learn to get over all of that and for my own sake, not be afraid to use my voice even if no one ever read it. The opportunity was actually very freeing and affirming. And I've encountered a lot of women with the "what right to I have" attitude, so no matter how messy blogs can be, I support the idea because I've seen the good it can do to encourage people on their spiritual journeys.

  • At 2/02/2008 04:00:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    Amen, well said Jessica and Julie.

  • At 2/03/2008 11:59:00 AM, Blogger jewlsntexas

    As far as sharing the gospel - I think that can only be done in the context of relationship. Online relationships are somewhat limited in that we can paint ourselves with the brush of our choosing. I think this can be a hindrance to some - while not at all too others. I am not a skeptical person - but I try to remember the hesitation that some have with the online community.

    I think there is a lot of noise coming from blogs - but the best part - the beauty part is that we can find one another. I live in the middle of nowhere in rural Texas - I may have said this in a previous comment so forgive me - but I would NOT have a faith community if it were not for having one online. I am lost here in th midst of back-woods, evangelical right, count the numbers, live by the same rules, cookie-cutter Christian (shall I keep going) community - and I am an outsider. My family - husband, 16 & 14 yo. daughters and 10 yo. son are my faith community right now. It's fine - it is where we are supposed to be right now - but if it weren't for blogs and podcasts and the online community of the Emergent church - I would feel very alone a lot of times.
    My two cents - I know I am chiming in here late -


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