Monday, September 14, 2009

Building "Church" with Social Media

One of the bloggers in our web ring has done a series of posts about the value of social media in the development of faith communities:

Using Social Media to Build Community, Part I
Using Social Medial to Build Local Community, Part II
If Jesus Were a Dog, Would He Tweet, Part III

Xan does an excellent job helping understand the value of some so seemingly impersonal as social media as a tool for developing the most personal kind of community. What she wrote really makes me think in a different way about the kinds of relationships that God asks us to participate in and how those relationships work in practical terms.

We often say that the best friends are the kind that you can be away from for 3 years, run into one day, and pick up as if you'd just seen each other last week. I have a few friends like that, with whom proximity in space and time don't impair our ability to rely on each other.

We also talk about the unseen presence an movement of the Holy Spirit in our relationships. It seems to me that an ethereal medium like social media, where physical presence no longer constrains community, is the perfect place to feel and experience the Holy Spirit.

Communities in which we aren't physical present do lead us to be more suspicious of others in the community. If we can't see others while we communicate with them electronically, how do we know anyone is who they say they are? Again, I think that faith plays a critical role in that community. In any relationship, we can mislead each other. But in nothing can we mislead God. So, there shouldn't be anything for us to fear from social media.

I'm excited to be part of this movement within the Presbyterian Church (USA)! I want more! I want to see hundreds of sermon podcasts on iTunes, the ability to attend my Sunday School class from Second Life when I'm out of town, as many PCUSA Facebook fan sites as their are churches in the denomination, and the ability to search Linked-In by church membership to search for my colleagues in faith.

Thanks to Xan for today's topic and inspiration!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this. The Presbytery of Carlisle (PA) is having a seminar on this topic this coming Saturday. After reading the 3 posts I reccomeded it to others via a post on Facebook as a way to prep for Saturday.

Reyes-Chow said...

Man, I gotta go to that ;-)