theology and the virtual world

May 30, 2008

Today I reach my double-century on this blog. This is post number 200 on mycontemplations. It’s a good day to look back a bit, look forward a bit, share some of the challenges that lie ahead and also ask some help.

It was a seminar with Tony Jones that got me blogging back in 2006. He introduced me to the emerging church conversation, and I had this sudden feeling of “hey, this is what I’ve been thinking for some time now”. So I started emergingsa, and blogged there for a number of months. After a while I found the emerging tag somewhat limiting, so I moved to this blog, I explained my reasons back then on the first post of this blog. And now, little over a year further on, I’m 200 posts have been written on this blog alone, nearly 500 comments have been written, and at least some people have read this blog.

A number of people must be mentioned. Let’s start with Glenn and Roger. Glenn was one of the first people I got to know through blogging, although we don’t comment on each others blogs that much anymore, I still follow his story. Roger was responsible for blogs like Futurechurch, Emerging Africa (Roger, I actually just found out that you did then change the name, was that after the conversation we had sometime last year?), and is currently blogging at Beyond the Boerewors Curtian, and we also linked up quite early, although we only met last year when Brian Mclaren visited South Africa.

I consider Steve Haysa very good conscience, reminding us protestants that the Christian tradition is much richer than we would like to think, and reminding us emerging guys that much of what we consider new has been said a long time ago. I can continue with lists of people with whom I’ve connected over the past two years, but it will be a very long list, and I’ll probable leave out many people. The list of RSS feeds I follow is much longer than my blogroll, and most of then I follow for a reason, most of them had triggered something somewhere. I like to believe that I’ve triggered something at some people who I don’t even know is reading this blog as well.

I’ve blogged about why I blog, but I’m starting to rethink whether I was understanding myself correctly as I’m reading through The Hacker Ethic. Tom Smith asked me a while ago who the biggest influences on my life has been, I struggled through the names of some famous theologians, stopped at my friends and family for a long time, and then had to add the blogging community of which I’ve become a small part.

Recently I was asked to present a paper on “theology and the virtual world” at a conference our faculty and church is holding every year. It’s a big thing for this 23 year old wannabe theologian, wannabe blogger. My first thought was that the “virtual world” isn’t so “virtual” to me, so I don’t really like the topic. My second one was that I’ve been living within this world, or at least within my own little bubble of the world, and to put this into words is gonna be difficult. When I found out that they wanted to put my words into an academic article I realised that this was going to be troubling! So I am frantically reading books on the topic, trying to get something well-grounded to say, without distancing myself from my own experiences, because I believe that people at conference, probable having an average age of 40+, need to hear about this from the inside, not hear another analysis from the outside.

So, I call upon my blogging friends. If you have some thoughts, or links which can be used, please let me know. I have to provide them with a 2000 word first draft within a week or so, and I haven’t even started yet. And if you live around Pretoria, and happen to own a copy of Virtual Christianitywhich I cna borrow, I would appreciate it, I ordered it from loot this morning, it will only arrive around the 20th of June, and a few hours later I got the news that the people are in a hurry to hear what I have to say.

Any thoughts? I thinking of looking at the hacker ethic, the open-source culture, within theology, within the church. My exact focus I will still figure out, since I believe Roger might also look at things from a similar angle. He was also asked to present a paper.

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2 Responses to “theology and the virtual world”

  1. Tom Smith Says:

    Cobus,

    Have fun with your ‘test’ sermon – and I agree that it’s kind of ridiculous; after all – Jesus failed his test sermon in Nazareth!

    And congrats on your double century.

    Re: conference, don’t let the academic setting scare you (I know it will not) – share your experience, it’s grounded enough. It’s exactly this democracy of knowledge that is needed in theological one-way streets.


  2. […] this one REALLY got me (70mb). Maybe it’s because I’m currently working on the Theology and the Virtual World paper I told you about, and this really hits home, I don’t know. It’s Clay Shirky […]


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