A month of #digidisciple posts – September 2011 round-up

In August, Bryony gave us a great overview of Big Bible posts from August, and I can see why it took a while to write – there’s so much great content under the #digidisciple hashtag, and trying to ‘cram’ it into particular headings isn’t particularly straightforward. However, such great material, and such generous contributions from so many people deserves a reminder of what we’ve seen over the past month, see if there’s something you want to check out again, and we’d love to join in the ‘bigger conversations’, comment on the posts, and, if you’re a #digidisciple, look for conversations to develop upon:

Sharing (Mission)

It was very encouraging to see so many people looking for ways to share, particularly those who are both considering what it means to share mission, faith, and our whole lives online.  Holly Poulter demonstrated how technology offers us the opportunity to see for ourselves how our money is having an effect in geographically distant countries, whilst also encouraging us in the UK to get involved at events. Sam Gibbs  gave us an insight into an iPhone app that he’s currently creating for young men (an area of mission much neglected, and using exactly the right kind of tool), and Jo Cox introduced us to Tell.Show.Be, the new Methodist Church tool for evangelism. Tony Whittaker, who runs Internet Evangelism Day, gave us insight into the growth of online as a tool for evangelism, and some practical guidelines. Paul Blakey and Oli Moore both considered opportunities to ‘drop’ Bible verses into social networks, with Oli looking particularly at the context of this. Ali Mephram opened the question of whether the Church needs to adopt a more generous attitude to copyright, and Anna Blanch questioned how we can be generous with other online: challenging, edifying and encouraging each other, rather than tearing each other down. Richard Littledale considered how we can engage digitally at a time of harvest.

Rest

This was a regular theme last month, and continues as a regular theme this month (well, it has been the summer holidays, but I think it’s bigger than that). Father Kevin started us off calling for us to unplug regularly, a form of ‘digital sabbath keeping‘ (although he’s not saying this has to a Sunday). Bryony Taylor called us to seek beauty in brokenness, and to recognise that we need to stop in our busyness, that “no one will die if they can’t read my most recent tweet!” I then proclaimed that I was going #digifree on my holiday (I did, and expect to reflect on that in October), and some of the questions that raises – with George Morley defining this more theologically as “How do we ‘do’ healthy humanity in the digital age?” Friar Micha discussed the ‘cult of personality’ and encouraged us to remember that ‘God is bigger than us‘, in a world that The Church Sofa has described as ‘getting noisy‘.

Identity

Simon Sutcliffe considered how social media offers enjoyable conversations, but how we react to ‘trolls‘ within that, leading to questions of ‘who I am’ online and offline. Lucy Mills took this further in considering how we use our online time wisely, and how we identify our difference as disciples in a digital age. Simon Lucas developed this as a call to ‘Love our neighbour as ourself’, and what this means in a digital context, especially with regards to those who find the digital space the only one where they can truly connect. George Morley considered some of the sources that indicate that social media is not just a cultural change, but a physiological change, which is enabling us to make new connections, but potentially losing us the ability to engage deeply. Pam Smith looked at our identity as church, in that we should not be looking to replicate the church but find new ways of expression, as demonstrated by Tim Hutchings, who asks whether the virtual can be ‘real’, and questions why we assume physical communities to be aspirational. Robb Sutherland echoed this as he took the hot topic of Facebook change as an echo of managing changes within churches, and how far we echo practices online. Kate Bruce has taken her first steps as a digital infant in thinking about what possibilities a smartphone gives her, and Will Grady considers how his global identity allows him to keep in contact using technology – as God shares stories in the Bible, he’s able to share stories of his life. Ned Lunn posed a different question for us – in a world in which most of us call for transparency/authenticity online, Ned questions what positive benefits anonymity has for Christians, and their message.

Social Media

The busiest post of the month was provided by Vicky Beeching, who set forward the debate about whether we should tweet in church/through sermons… via a live debate on Twitter, and then thoughts taken from that Twitter discussion into a blog post. Andrew Salt and Adam Brown gave us a mix of practical advice and thoughts as to how we as Christians can use Twitter, whilst Jonathan Blundell gave us 20 great suggestions for ‘being a better neighbour online‘. Thomas Mathie looked at the quality of participation, arguing that this was much more important than the numbers (which are more generally used as a measure of success in social media). Pam Webster considered what this might look like, and where we might seek to be online, cautioning us that wherever we choose, we should be authentic, and do it for God. Ailsa Wright has certainly been demonstrating this in Second Life, where she considers if old habits such as the rites of daily prayer can be reworked in an online way. We have noted over the past year that there is little material for youth workers – that group which has the biggest constituency online, but is nervous about the legal, moral, etc. ramifications of becoming involved – we found a great article from YouthWork Magazine that we were given permission to republish.

The Bible

Pete Phillips considered his experiences at Greenbelt, and the need to immerse ourselves in the Bible – not just treat it as a kind of disposable consumer product, but words to wash around and ‘consume’ the Bible more deeply. We shared a number of stories from online:

We considered what does it mean to be a disciple?’, and delighted in new online videos from The Applecart, and Dot Gosling questioned us as to where we may demonstrate jealousy of others, and how we might bring grace into the discussions.

#CNMAC11

James Poulter gave us an audio interview, giving us some insights into his work with YouVersion (the world’s biggest Bible app, approaching 30 million downloads), in which he also talks about the Christian New Media Awards and Conference (generally known as #cnmac11).

The Awards are all now closed/judged, and we look forward to 14th October when we’ll hear who won what. We sought to gain stories from all those entered for the People’s Choice Awards (which included The Big Bible Project), as we’re keen to share stories of what’s working well in the Christian New Media world!

If you haven’t already booked for the conference, consider it, as it’s booking up fast, with over 30 quality speakers, with a cost of only £27.50 for the day. Check out the conference site, and stories tagged #cnmac11 on this site.

All images under licence from iStockphoto or from sxc.hu and 12Baskets. 

About bigbible

The #BigBible Project. Educating in the digital spaces, creating 'bigger Bible conversations' between #digidisciple(s). Look out for #bigread14.