I recently interviewed for a new position which seemed to be a
major step in the direction which I have been pusuing as an ideal
career. It had to do with being an advocate and "evangelist"
for online community in the denomination. The interview process
was long, and after 2 and a half months since my initial interview,
I heard last week that the position was taken by someone else.
It has , in a sense, "opened up my future", for I now
need to consider the role I see myself playing in the relationship
between the Church and the online world. After five years in a major
denominational publishing house, and being lmited to a role of a
developer, I feel my training and experience in the issues of communicating
in a Digital Age are not being used. The idea that online community
could aid a religious publisher has simply been ignored, despite
several overtures from me on that topic in a couple of "public
requests for new strategies or initiatives".
With the rise of the Portal approach to Web hosting,
I have been envisioning an "updated" version of the work
that I have named "New Media Communications". I have
often been very frustrated with the cycle of recognizing that I
need to be writing new things and posting them here, and then after
an initial burst of energy which results in a couple of new pages
to the site, I fall back into a mad rush of requirements for some
project at work. I thus "lose the edge" and the energy
that goes along with it to sit down and try to communicate this
to my online community.
I have also neglected this online community. It has coincided with
a dry spell in my ftf social life as well, which has left me with
minimal energy for either community.
Part of my frustration in my Church experience right now is that
I feel very little support for the sense of call I feel to be a
shaper and a resource for the building of "online tools"
and "online places" for the Church. When our got a new
head pastor about a year ago, I immediately set up an appontment
with her in hopes that I could share something of this sense of
call I have felt for at least 10 years now, and especially since
the Web has become the force and the set of tools that it is today
(and promises to continue to expand these tools).
My theology of Church places great value in the importance of everyone
in the body of Christ discovering and utilizing their gifts, and
forming these calls into "mission". Mission groups form
as the "call" is sounded by two or more persons who see
a purpose in the effort which addresses some need in the world.
The world of people who are "seeking" for meaning online
is rapidly expanding. If others are out there who feel, as I do,
that the ftf church has been sorely lacking (in most of its representions)
in its role of providing a "beloved community" where one
feels known and where one is provided resources to grow in understanding
themselves and their role in the Church.
I have recently been thinking about this , and how the experience
of community in the church is to survive in the Digital Age. Along
with the rapid development and extensionof things technological
into our lives and culture, there is the experience of fewer and
fewer opportunities to spend time on each other's journeys in the
context of the typical church schedule.