Posted by Dave Faulkner
Apparently, the revolution will be tweeted,
says Jason Gardner in an article which begins by reflecting on the use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter in recent people movements in North Africa. You may have read about the Egyptian who called his newborn child ‘Facebook’ in tribute to the way that site was used to spark potential social change.
So Gardner asks us to pay attention to Web 2.0, which
is about customisation and collaboration … That means that the story of the world is no longer dictated to us: we write it together.
Even powerful dictators’ efforts to use kill switches on the Internet have run into trouble as international people movements such as Avaaz have solicited funds from tens of thousands of people around the world to provide satellite links and other means for the previously disempowered citizens to keep communicating with each other and the outside world.
When I have written about this before, I have quoted Rex Miller‘s maxim that it isn’t that the medium is the message; rather, the medium is the worldview. Collaborative media mean collaborative approaches to life. And Gardner rightly says the church needs to take heed.
His particular application is in involving youth, and he makes the point that God is involving us collaboratively in his kingdom.
However, it’s worth thinking about for the whole church. While we have a long way to go, it gives me great pleasure to be involved in leading a church that already has signs of taking this seriously. I have a Leadership Team that meets weekly at Knaphill, and although I’m seen as the overall leader we take counsel together.
Or for another example, you’ll notice this is one of those weekends when there is no new sermon on the blog. That’s because it’s All Age Worship Sunday, and we have a team that plans these services. While I might bring a general overarching theme or message, I couldn’t possibly put together the services we lead. The creative gifts present among the team are amazing, and the worship is all the richer for it.
OK, if I get round to it, I might put up the short PowerPoint presentation that accompanies my brief talk on a site like Slideshare, but it isn’t a conventional sermon. It’s a talk on the theme of ‘belonging’, because we’ve just had Founders’ Day for the Scouts and Thinking Day for the Guides. And actually, did I come up with the theme this time? No. I couldn’t make the planning meeting, due to an emergency. Two other people prayed and set the theme, and I have attempted to fit in.
Of course, we need to go much further, but one thing is for sure. However much I am set aside to pray and discern, there is no going back to the world where an Anglican rector friend of mine saw his calling as to come down from the mountain with the tablets of stone, and for the people simply to accept his word to that effect.
Posted by Dave Faulkner
Through reading an article on social media and the Gospel in the latest edition of the Evangelical Alliance‘s magazine ‘IDEA’, I came across World Wide Open. It’s a social network that aims to connect and empower Christians across the world in order to share expertise and thus further mission. I wondered whether anyone who reads this blog has come across it. What are your experiences?
I thought I would at least register, because some things can only be experienced from inside. The introductory videos are impressive in laying out the vision. However, beyond that, my first impression is that registration and getting going are hard work. You need to supply a lot of information, type in lots of text and click several text boxes to create the kind of profile that might lead to fruitful contact with others in the future. I’m not sure how it could be simplified, but if it could, I think that would be helpful.
Other tools could do with a different approach. There is an opportunity to blog at the site, but only by creating blog posts there. I noticed no facility to import posts from an existing blog. I would think many likely contributors already have their own blogs, and would not want to create another one. Another worthy Christian social network, Missional Tribe, and my reaction was, I don’t want to go to the effort of duplicating my posts.
The IDEA magazine article tells one or two wonderful stories of worthwhile links being created between different agencies. I hope that will come to fruition at WWO. It says (as seems to be the fashion for a ‘Web 2.0‘ site) that it is in ‘beta‘, and that seems to be accurate to me. It isn’t quite the finished article yet, but I hope it soon will be, and become a helpful tool for the mission of God.
UPDATE, Tuesday 2nd March, 11:15 am: World Wide Open is beginning to kick into action. This morning I received an email from them with my ‘customised updates’. Based on the interests I selected when I signed up, it offers to put me in touch with other registered users. This can be on the basis of leveraging their experience, resources they have uploaded, opportunities to put faith into action, groups I might like to join and people with whom I might like to connect. Naturally, only a minority of them will prove directly relevant, but it is a start and a sign of how the site works.