TheoBlogical Community
The Blog that took over New Media Communications  A place to reflect and connect on the subject of Theological Community and Online Community


My Resume

NMC Home Page

Subscribe to "TheoBlogical Community" in Radio UserLand.

Click to see the XML version of this web page.

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

How We Can Begin

The first steps in nudging Church and society in that direction is to start learning about it,  which can mean nothing less than "getting in" and exploring (just as nobody could be expected to "understand" the Internet without "going to it" and exploring,  weblogs cannot be understoood or appreciated without not only looking at them and exploring, but also "trying it out".  I was drawn to it by some writings of a couple of the Cluetrain Mainifesto writers,  in a couple of their later books (Samll Pieces, Loosely Joined by David Weinberger and Gonzo Marketing by Christopher Locke).  I started blogging last June,  almost a year ago to the day --- (actually, it was June 2,  I just looked)

I find it troublesome that there are so many places or people ---in communications , mind you,  that are so into seeing immediate results that they dismiss such things out of hand, or just simply ignore it,  or even ask "HOw can we make money from that?"  I hear this from Church people,  who somehow get lost on the idea that providing "places" for people to converse and "reasons" for them to converse is a good thing for the Church. 

What happened to the idea that we're about "bringing people together"  and "seeking to enable community among people" or "help people explore and discover their calling"?  All of these things are neccessary ingredients in creating a community,  which leads to the creation of structures which subsist off of the support of those people whom the community has attracted?  You don't "make money" or "Get the support" through the creation of groups and the "channels" of communication for those groups,  but the "aggregation" of those people together provide the REASONS and the MISSION which warrants and depends upon their support. 

To research and explore ways of doing this online seems like such a no-brainer,  but in the world of Web technology,  we are,  in the Church,  missing the boat, BIG TIME.  And people continue to leave traditional structures ,  not becuase the traditions are open to quesion, but becuase they are no longer engaged with the community.  I have very little desire myself to "gather" with people who seem to have no desire to know me or each other. 

But I keep "hanging around" because there are those possibilities that I can be at the right place at the right moment and with the right people to help us "find" a crucial avenue to re-connecting people.  Sure, there are those who will nver be comfortable and never "get it",  and thery're not "lost or misguided" or anything.  They're simply not a part of this particular mission of the Church (and least not yet,  at least not until SOME of them will be "attracted" into it by the "buzz" and word of mouth from people who "enter into" the spaces provided and "fiddle with" the technologies and dream about the possibilities and "customize" some examples.  But customization takes work.  No one expects a new pastor to come in and start work on a pastoral ministry by "volunteeering" all their time for months or even years before they "see the results" and say, OK,  I guess it's rational to pay someone to spend fulltime on working with us to "get this Church thing" going in an effective and impactful way.   But yet,  we expect the technology to drop into our lap as a gift.  Sometimes we get "gifts" from people as a contribution,  but the problem is that they are not "created" with the Church in mind.  The software or the "online spaces" are "hand-me-downs" from another application and original set of problems,  from which sprung that particualr application.  And so Churches and its people are just "users" and "faces in the crowd".  We put ourt bulletins and calendars and sermons online,  becuase t ready-made web applications and "Instant Website Builder" applications expect that from Churches,  but the personal and spiritual communication possibilities are not explored,  or accounted for,  or even recognized,  because we keep seeing the Web as an online repository for shoveling in our one-way , print-oriented communications.  Brochure-ware. The real power of the Web remains untapped.

All of this leads to the problem of "getting it", and applying our efforts and investing in our getting it right (at the very least,  making an effort to getting it right by begining to apply a larger portion of our communication budgets (newsletters, publications, brochures, PR) toward online communications,  and increasing the percentage of what goes toward online "strategy". 

Seminaries shoud be exploring Weblogs (they're the ones who are supposed to be teaching future pastors and other types of commuicators, right?)  Communication agencies , of all people,  help us to communicate with EACH OTHER,  won't you?  If you see any possibility in the power of enabling places of communication BETWEEN US,  give us places to help us do that and see the power of it.  Don't just be content to give us "seminars on web ministry" and then give us nothing online to hep us explore that (except for a streaming audio-or video) of those events.)  OK,  so that's beig "talked about",  but the only way you can participate is to "GO to the event" or "listen to it online".....and most of that talks mostly about shovelware/brochureware,  and in the most "creative" examples,  encourage us to "keep the brochureware up to date", with no help on how to do that with such things as Databases in the backend.  The online "Web resources" I've seen listed on denominational websites are more  out-of-date than the Church websites they purport to be helping keep up with it. 

comment []

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2003 Dale Lature.
Last update: 9/23/2003; 3:41:04 PM.