A month of #digidisciple posts: Round-Up November

November was another busy month for #digidisciple posts, covering a range of topics, so here’s my (rather belated, apologies!) post attempting to draw the themes out from 68 posts!

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Theology, The Bible & Prayer

We celebrated the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible at Westminster Abbey, and identified a number of other stories reflecting upon the Bible – GI Bible, Alastair McGrath, YouTube: History of English, Billy Graham, and the 10 commandments presented visually.

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/474429Nancy Wallace continued her series of Blogging Bible Women, focusing on Elizabeth, with Mary to follow in December. Dot reemphasised the need to pray, to ensure that we make the most of the potential that God offers us. Others also considered prayer, with the Bishop of Durham joining Twitter and setting up the @prayerof account; Lucy Mills got lots of debate going with her question of whether a Retweet can be a prayer? Ruth Robinson gave us an insight into SAT7’s international day of prayer, with Tweeted prayers encouraging those in the Middle East to know that they are supported.

Father Kevin encourages us to continue the discussions re digital sacraments as, as the world changes, ‘virtual’ sacraments may no longer be a ‘nice to have idea’ but a necessity. We, as a project, celebrated that progress is being made for #bigread12 for Lent 2012.

Timeliness

Still engrossed in reading Elizabeth Dreshner’s Tweet if You Heart Jesus, on p125 she noted that amongst 500-odd Facebook friends, only 2 were engaging digitally/spiritually with the biggest conversation globally – the Chilean miners – whilst the others were fretting about various ‘religious’ activities. Whilst the rest of the world gathered, Christians in leadership were not noticeably engaging at a time when people were seeking.

This month, that certainly hasn’t happened with a number of stories. Holly Poulter and Jay Butcher tied took the world’s population reaching 7 billion as a starting point, whilst Ryan Hill let us know about 7-14, a global prayer event. Ali Gledhill reflected on what we are really ‘celebrating’ for Fireworks night, and whether we can seek ways to flood the online spaces with positive Christian imagery.

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For Remembrance Day we drew attention to @Poppy_Tweet, and later in the month Rev Joanne Cox reflected on her engagement with this, in getting something moving in a very short time frame. Later in the month we considered ‘World Toilet Day’, and Thanksgiving.

As Christmas started to approach, Sally Coleman looked at the excitement that surrounds Christmas, and reminded us that the Second coming of Christ is the focus of Advent, which we often forget about in the excitement of ‘the holidays’. We looked at a number of Christmas projects, including Roll On Christmas, using humour to bring online evangelism to the fore; Traces of Advent – an experimental project using Aurasma; the Premier Campaign for Christmas, and Robb pulled together ‘The Advent Conspiracy’ – under 30 seconds daily for Advent anti-consumerism.

Culture

A number of writers emphasised the need to engage with popular culture, understanding (and being part of!) the world we live in, rather than living in ‘holy huddles’ as Jonathan Blundell described it. Tony Whittaker took Downton Abbey as his starting point, whilst Thomas Mathie took Twilight as his.

Paul Blakeley and Friar Micha Jazz called for the church to take its role at the centre of its community, respectively local and political. Jon Butler called for us to recognise the mission field on your ‘doorstep’ (aka social networks), whilst Tim Hutchings encouraged us to think about how Christian evangelism material may appear in (or out of) context.

Darren Hill, in his inaugural post, considered the ‘adventure’ that used to be had in the library, but can now be had online.  As we journey across the web, now we can adventure in conversation.

Appropriate Medium?

A number of writers, as may be expected, engaged with the idea of what is appropriate behaviour, and which are the appropriate medium for particular activities.

Vicky Beeching caused plenty of debate on her social networks in raising the question of whether social media is the new Roman Forum, and questioning what’s appropriate to discuss in such spaces. Rev Gareth posed questions, demonstrating the excitement of having a conversation much larger than those physically present, but presenting a worry that we may prioritise the digital over those in the physical space. James Prescott, in his first post, considered where we find our value, and how much of that we find in social media measurement.

Kate Bruce, in her third month of playing with Twitter, considered how she’s getting used to the medium – largely by standing and watching, but starting to feel the rhythm. Steve Blundell gave us a challenge to be more intentional about how we use Twitter, building a rhythm into there. Jeremy Feser (based in Tanzania) considered how he maintains contact with his family via Skype, etc. and also maintains relationships with his supporters using passionate engagement with the online world.

Anders Orsander gave us positive insight (that the media rarely gives us) re Christian interaction on social media, but encourages ‘organisations’ to think as church, rather than as institutions … be different. Anita Mathias – encourages us to think about the kind of blogs that we’d like to read and write those kind of blogs – people want positive stories, and not preaching.  Bex looked at notions of friendship – ensuring we leave space for serendipity, not getting stuck in the comfortable Christian bubble, and questioned the notion of ‘friendship clearouts’. Bryony questioned why so many are ‘scared to go digifree’ – and how legalistic do we get about such things – and should we be cutting off contact?

Throughout all these stories, the question that there are choices in all this continued to arise – there’s still a lot of choices… and questions!

Words & Context

Other blog posts considered the need to think about the words used, and the context within which material appears.

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Pam Webster encourages us to think about the words that we use, to use them wisely, and to remember that God should be reflected in our status updates. Ali Gledhill considered the value of ‘let your words be few’, especially within a ‘soundbite culture’. Anna Blanch questioned whether we need to consider offering more ‘grace’ online, and that often Christians appear as hypocrites sounding off about things: think more before posting.

Ned Lunn thinks about embodiment, and the need for face-to-face encounters, whilst Ailsa Wright considered the rebuilding of the Cathedral in Second Life, how surroundings make a difference – and how the virtual building has led her to reconsider the physical buildings in which worship occur. James Robinson looked at creativity and art within the church, and the difference that (architectural) context can make to that.

Social Media in Action

Simon Sutcliffe looked back on a social media project that ‘hadn’t worked‘ and tried to understand why it might not have worked. Muriel Sowden gave us an insight into Digital Dominicans – into how they are using social media so well to build and sustain a global community. Tom Copestake gave great practical advice as to how using Google tools can seriously impact practice in youth ministry, whilst we highlighted Martin Saunders call to ensure that our own discipleship is strong in order to support others, and the importance of unity.

George Morley considered how introverts engage with the online world, and how to make it manageable when social interaction is tiring. Vicky Beeching also considered how to manage our workflow in a medium that demands our constant attention. Pete Phillips reflected on a lecture he’d recently attended, given by Lynne Blair, with questions as to how aware we are of how technology is changing our subconscious.

Practical Advice

As we seek to develop a wiki for the #digilit section of the site, Adam Brown started us off with practical advice on WordPress; The Church Sofa identified 10 iOS apps; and Andrew Salt encouraged us to ‘back up our social lives‘. We also highlighted material from YouVersion, @StickyJesus’ the 10 commandments of Twitter, gave tips for using video well, shared an Infographic as to the best time to share social media, and demonstrated that Twitter drives more traffic than Facebook. Chris Hall reviewed OutSpoken!, and remember that there’s still an opportunity to make your own Viral Bible – and win an iPad!

We also continue(d) to look out for events to help people get on board with the Bible, house groups, and social media!

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About drbexl

Life Explorer, academia/learning, Christian, cultural history, WW2 posters: Keep Calm & Carry On, digital world, coach. Twitter: @drbexl @digitalfprint, @ww2poster @bigbible