Dec. 3rd, 2009

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The reliably interesting Bishop Alan has been musing about the Church and new media, and raises the question as to how the Church can think about and encourage its use in a spiritually valuable fashion, without making complete idiots of themselves (I can't say I wanted the mental image of the Bishop of Barchester pop[ping] down to Barchester Cathedral to sock it to them like Cosmo Gordon Lang on heat, but I entirely agree that there's a danger that at least half the people in the congregation, their culture formed in the new media space, will think the poor old goat is mad...

He further reflects

Back in the 1950’s we would have set up a “C of E Social Media Council” so that a party selection of senior bishops, retired colonels and ladies in funny hats could mull over the creative possibilities and then tell everyone else what to do.These days we have to be a bit more experimental and post-modern. We have to work out for ourselves what to do. I’ve been trying to brainstorm some needs and possibilities, including, as an hoary old adult educator, learning, Bishop Alan’s Blog: Church new media futures...., Dec 2009

I've been thinking about this in a slightly different connection, and I'm not sure to what extent this is something which the church as an institution, as opposed to Christians as individuals (such as, er, my Lord Bishop and I) can get involved with. There's the additional difficulty that the internet is a subculture which is not entirely approved of by The Powers That Be. Some of the best theological/ spiritual writing I have come across has been on blogs that also contain the usual daily blatherings about real life, squees or meta on pop-culture, and fanfic. But while I wouldn't class my fannishness as something I needed to bring to confession*, it's not something I'd necessarily want to discuss with, say, selectors. Yet I think any Christian witness - as long as it's something which arises naturally and is obviously connected to the blogger's whole mindset - is much more effective than A Spiritual Blog About Spiritual Matters. I suppose it comes down to integrity, really. Or possibly even has to do with the need for theology about an Incarnate God to be, well, incarnate in a lived context. However messy and hard to represent to tidy-minded church officials it might be...

* well, 99.99% of the time, anyway.


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