Last night we tried something new with our confirmation class: emoji theology.
It was inspired by the brilliant Twitter account @emojitheology, which communicates Bible stories and religious ideas through emoji—those little pictures we include in text messages. Here are some examples of those awesome tweets:
You may have have seen the recent Pew report that 20% of people share their faith online, but that's not the whole story. Elizabeth Drescher and I discuss this report in The Narthex and reflect on the variety of ways people share and express their faith online.
Sharing one’s faith is much more than just about sharing religious content, like spiritual or Biblical quotes, check-ins at church, or personal testimony. It is interwoven into the relationships and networks of which we are a part in and across the lived reality of both online and offline settings. People share their faith in a variety of ways — as they create and nurture relationships, seek to be a gracious presence, affirm and assist friends, and engage with others in the things they find important and meaningful. The other day, for instance, a Facebook friend posted an offer to share an “inspirational quote and photo” for anyone who needed a “spiritual pick-me-up” during the day. Would Pew have counted that as “religious sharing?” Would the woman herself have thought of it in that way?
This reveals a limitation of trying to quantify religious practice, for demographic studies of religion require that certain behaviors be narrowly defined as “religious” while others are “not religious.”
How are you engaged with your local community and new digital neighborhoods? Check out my latest piece on making your neighborhood your cathedral at The BTS Center's new blog, Bearings.
Like the expansive and varied neighborhood I mapped in my childhood, today’s ministry landscape is not made up of just church buildings, but of the array of local and digital gathering places that comprise widely networked 21st century neighborhoods. Increasingly, as church membership declines and the number of Nones rise, ministry is moving—and must move—from behind the closed doors of our church buildings into local and digital gathering places where people already gather, make meaning, and live out their faith in daily life. These locations include pubs, coffee shops, commuter train stations, bus stops, college campus sidewalks , local vet’s offices, food trucks, laundromats, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other digital social media locales.
Program note: Though I will continue to post new content here on occasion, most of my new original articles are now published on various websites beyond this blog. For those articles, I'll include a small quote and a link to the website with the full article. Thanks for reading and staying connected!
Image: Photo by Keith Anderson, The Rose Window at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York
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.
I 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.