New resources available to advance theological thinking about new communication technology
June 18, 2012
The New Media Project at New York’s Union Theological Seminary has published six theological essays and four sets of recommendations about using social media in ministerial, congregational, and institutional settings.
“Together the material—located under the Findings tab on the project website —provides a one-of-a-kind resource for religious leaders seeking to interpret new media in creative and theological ways,” says the Rev. Verity Jones, project director and a minister in the Christian Church ) Disciples of Christ.
Essays by the project’s research fellows explore the following topics:
- “Models of the church and social media,” by Jim Rice, editor of Sojourners magazine
- “X-Reality and the Incarnation,” by Kathryn Reklis, assistant professor of modern Protestant theology at Fordham University
- “New media: A savior for the digital age,” by Monica A. Coleman, associate professor of constructive theology and African American religions at Claremont School of Theology
- “Practicing virtue with social media: An ‘underdetermined’ response,” by Jason Byassee, pastor of Boone United Methodist Church, Boone, NC, and a Fellow in theology and leadership at Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School
- “How media changes American culture and religion,” by Lerone A. Martin, assistant professor of American religious history and culture at Eden Theological Seminary
Each essay includes study questions. General questions about social media and religion provide another way to get into the essays and other material.
Recommendations from the project address areas such as:
- Why think about using social media
- How to use social media well
- When to be cautious and concerned
- How to know if what you are doing is working
In the midst of the massive shifts occurring in digital communication today, the New Media Project explores how pastors and lay leaders might employ new technologies to strengthen their ministries and communities.
“Pastors need more than the technical know-how required to build websites and use social media,” Jones says. “They also need broader, theologically grounded reflection on the lasting effect these technologies will have on the church and its global ministries.”