26 August 2014

The Digital Cathedral: Book Cover, Foreward, Pre-Order, and Cathedral Visits

Posted in The Digital Cathedral

TDC Cover

Just a brief status update on my forthcoming book The Digital Cathedral: Networked Ministry in a Wireless World (Morehouse, 2015).

  • The cover is out! I'm so happy with the cover for The Digital Cathedral and grateful to my editor Nancy Bryan and the team at Church Publishing for putting together such a great concept. I love the way it combines the digital icon of the wi-fi signal and the classic look of stained glass—one of the defining characteristics of cathedrals. I also love the clean white Apple aesthetic with the small i's in the title.
  • I'm also grateful to Elizabeth Drescher, my friend and co-author on Click2Save: The Digital Ministry Bible (Morehouse, 2012) for writing the foreward.
  • The Digital Cathedral is available for pre-order here through the Church Publishing Website via Cokesbury. The book will be published in April 2015. 

Here's the working description:

Rapid cultural and technological changes through the last two decades have changed the context for ministry. The development of digital social media and advances in affordable, mobile technologies have dramatically changed the way most people interact with others, communicate, organize, and participate in communities.

The Digital Cathedral is a warm embrace of the rich traditions of Christianity, especially the recovery of the premodern sense of cathedral, which encompassed the depth and breadth of daily life within the physical and imaginative landscape of the church. It is for anyone who seeks to effectively minister in a digitally-integrated world, and who wishes to embody the networked, relational, and incarnational characteristics of that ministry. For lay and professional ministry leaders, congregations, judicatories, and partner organizations.

This last month of book writing has been a combination of creating new chapter content and editing my early drafts. The highlights of the project this summer have been my visits to two great cathedrals. In July, I toured Washington National Cathedral in D.C. with my mom and stepdad. My mom and I had travelled to Washington National in a field trip for my confirmation class around twenty-five years ago. It was great to reconnect with that experience and explore the cathedral in the behind the scenes tour. In August I toured the Cathedral of St. John the Divine (and the Hungarian Pastry Shop) in Manhattan. Both visits provided rich material and experiences for the book, which you'll read all about.

Look for more information and details about The Digital Cathedral in the months to come. Thanks for all your support for the project!

03 April 2014

Introducing The Digital Cathedral: Networked Ministry in a Wireless World

Posted in The Digital Cathedral

CanterburyCathedralHello Friends,

I'm sure you've noticed that things have been pretty slow here on my blog of late. The reason is that I'm working on a new book:  The Digital Cathedral: Networked Ministry in a Wireless World, to be published by Church Publishing, the publishing house of The Episcopal Church. (Yes, they let Lutherans write for them too.)

I'm really excited about this project. It builds on many of the ideas I've been writing, blogging, and speaking about—and experiencing in my ministry—over last few years. It builds on ideas Elizabeth Drescher and I introduced in Click2Save: The Digital Minsitry Bible, but goes beyond the basics of how to use social media, and explores the character of ministry leadership that is required today in our digitally-integrated world. 

The Digital Cathedral is intended to evoke an expansive understanding of church in a digitally-integrated world, one that extends ministry into digital and local gathering spaces, recognizes the holy in our everyday lives, and embodies a networked, relational, and incarnational ministry leadership for a digital age.

13 December 2013

On Advent and Liturgical Fundamentalism

Posted in Church

adventcandlesI recently posted a rant on Facebook about how so many ministry leaders were posting about the color of Advent candles and singing Christmas hymns in Advent. It went something like (well, exactly like) this:

“I have no patience for debates over the color of Advent candles and whether or not to sing Christmas songs in Advent. God became incarnate *mind blown*...and candles and carols are all some church professionals on Facebook can post about? Give me a break.”

I had seen so many colleagues posting about these things that I finally snapped and posted about it. 139 likes, 45 comments, and 5 shares later, it seems to have hit a nerve. Facebook informs me that its on of my most popular posts of 2013. Oh, well.

Here’s my problem with all this.

09 December 2013

Make Your Neighborhood Your Cathedral (Video)

Posted in Digital Ministry, Emerging, Church

stmarksThis fall I was invited to speak as part of a series called "Conversations that Matter" for the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA. I gave the talk live at the first conversation in Nazareth, PA and then we recorded it for subsequent gatherings. The invitation was to speak about the future direction of the church in a way that provoked conversation and reflection.

This 22-minute video called "Make Your Neighborhood Your Cathedral" explores something I am deeply passionate about and I think is vital to the future of the Church—getting outside our church buildings and being present in public local and digital gathering spaces, whether it is the local cafe or pub, Facebook or Twitter. (Email readers will need to click here to view the video.)

  

 photo credit: alag_pl on Flickr

23 October 2013

Keeping Sabbath With My Confirmation Class

Posted in Church

Remember-SabbathWe are learning about the Ten Commandments in our Confirmation class this fall, and most recently the Third Commandment: "Remember the Sabbath and Keep it Holy" and Martin Luther's explanation of it in the Small Catechism, "We are to fear and love God, so that we do not despise preaching or God's Word, but instead keep the Word holy and gladly hear and learn it."

Inspired by the work we are doing in my class Catechism as Platform and conversations on experiential learning with Bethany Stolle, I decided to craft a Confirmation class that was an experience of Sabbath, rather than just a discussion about it. It turned out to be a great mashup of premodern and postmodern, ancient and digital.

Luther's explanation of the third commandment, as I understand it, is about taking time to encounter the Word of God, whether that's on the traditional Christian Sabbath of Sunday morning, where we gather for worship and engage with the Word in Scripture readings, sermons, and the liturgy, or simply time apart from our busy routines in order for rest and renewal so that we can encounter God in the Word—which, for me, can be Scripture, or another person, or nature, or any number of ways people encounter and experience God.

When I introduced the session and told the kids that I just wanted them to relax and there would be time for them just to chill, they were pretty shocked. They are so programmed, just like adults, they weren't expecting to get permission just to be kids—really, just to be.

So, here's what we did, including links and resources. The entire experience lasted 90 minutes.

How are you cultivating experiential learning in your ministry? Share your good ideas in the comments.

16 October 2013

Two Talks on Evangelism in the 21st Century

Posted in Leadership, Church

Ethiopian-iPhoneWhat does evangelism in the 21st century look like? How is it different than 5, 10, 15, or 25 years ago?

In these two talks/sermons, I take on those questions and offer up strategies that have worked for me.

In short, evangelism must begin with repentence and it should involve more listening— holy listening— than it usually does. 

I draw on the work of the Barna Group in the books UnChristian and You Lost Me, Nadia Bolz-Weber's spiritual memoir, Pastrix, research from Elizabeth Drescher, and the work of Paul Hoffman described in Faith Forming Faith

What does evangelism at the ouset of the 21st century look like where you are?

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