Wendell Berry, in an essay within his book Life is a Miracle (53ff), writes about the persistent problem of some analogizing humans with machines. You don’t have to look far for examples or remarks about the human mind being like a computer chip, or people being talked about as complex machines. Just watch a recent Droid commercial and you get the point. Berry points out that this is a serious problem, not because analogies are somehow bad to make, but that analogies have certain limits which need to be respected. In this case, the analogy seems to get carries away to the point of actually becoming an identification with, rather than an explanatory metaphor.
While technology is a dominating force in our world today Gods reign is not excluded from it, Gods reign can emerge from within as much as outside of this context. We often find unexpected places within the world where Gods Kingdom is reflected. For the last 50 years or so missiologists have argued that the Missio Dei (Gods Mission) is at work in cultures around the world whether the church is present there or not. One example might be to look at a few positive areas where God could be at work within convergence culture.
I’ve put together a two-part essay on Technology as Power (or what I’m calling, using James McClendon, a powerful-practice) and the second part which I will publish in two weeks on the Quaker notion of “Gospel order” as a counterpoint to what Henry Jenkins calls participatory culture (think democratization of the web, re: youtube, wikis, twitter, discussion forums, blogs, web 2.0, etc). These two articles are an attempt to argue for a particular naming of technology from the church, and a watchful and transformative role in participating within this emerging culture. How the church reflects on such powers will determine and shape how the church’s mission looks in the 21st century. When I publish the second part I will also publish the whole article in .pdf form and make it available both here and at Barclay Press. The church’s interaction with and theological reflections on technology are areas I’ve been interested in since I began studying with Ryan Bolger, he has guided me in much of this discussion and those of you who know his views will see them sneaking out all over the place. I am pretty excited to finally get something more substantial out on the subject and I do hope you’ll read and be challenged by them.
Here’s the link to the article: Technology as a Powerful-Practice (Part 1)
And for those of you interested in previous articles looking at technology from a theological point of view you can view these links.
Kevin Roberts, creator and editor of Conservativefriend.org, has posted an article I wrote for the site titled “Convergent Friendship and Playing With the Other Kids” it reflects upon my experience in Ohio as well as some thoughts on Quakers and ecumenicism. If you get a chance jump over and have a look.
Online communities continue to grow Myspace, Virb, Facebook, delicious, flickr, twitter, digg, 30boxes, box.net, etc, etc, all offer a way for people to share and stay in touch. I personally like the attention web 2.0 companies have paid to making the web more interactive in this way. I use many of the services above, and have found that they add to my life in various ways simply helping me to easily connect with other people.
Tony Jones, recently discussed a paper he read at Wheaton. In the paper he talks about the prospect of being an “anti-theologian,” (a designation I too find attractive) and orthodoxy as something that exists within particular events but not as an objective reality out there somewhere. I found some troubling questions for Friends given the reality of Jones’ arguement. About his paper he says,
I had the opportunity to read a fascinating and very thought provoking book this past week called, “Transforming the Powers: Peace, Justice and the Domination System.” The basic idea of the book is taken from Walter Wink’s idea of the “powers and principalities” which consist of the “spiritual dynamics at work in the institutions and social systems that shape our lives.” Wink’s well known line goes, “The Powers are good; the Powers are fallen the Powers must be redeemed.”
Because I often write about the benefits of blogging and the great tool I see blogs to be I thought I’d look at it from the other side and investigate some of the disadvantages they come with. There have a been a number of ongoing comments here and its led me to think further about blogging as “theological discourse.” Taking my cue from Hauerwas I wrote that blogging has the advantage of fitting into a local context within a community of believers. I said,
“For Hauerwas, Theology and ethics take place within the local context of a given faith community and is always on the move. Because this is one of his main focuses (the church as its own polis) he typically spends his time writing short essays about specific ethical and pastoral issues, including medical ethics, interpretation of scripture, war, abortion, homosexuality, and the church in the political world.”
A couple days back I wrote a short entry on the fact that theology is always on the move, and must be adjusted to the times in order that it makes sense of larger more agreed upon truths within our local contexts. Because of this I think it would be helpful to “write theology on blogs and wikis” so that we can invite everyday people to the conversation about God.
When I use the word “theology” in the previous paragraph I am in part referring to the “process of thinking, talking and writing about God.” Theology in this light, is a process, its part of our everyday life and includes the most hard-fast dogmatic things we believe to the things we hold to more loosely. Theology, as a word and as a science, has many meanings, this one I offer above is one of them; the rest I can’t fully cover here if I am to keep my self-imposed 800 word limit.
I’ve debated over the topic of whether I should have advertisements on ol’ gathering in light since I starting using wordpress back in February. Some of you have noticed the on and off frequency of this site having ads, this was because I was trying to see if I had reactions one way or the other. The only feedback I got was negative, “why do you have advertisements on your blog?”