Category: Faith

What Would Jesus Tweet?

I do apologise profusely for the cliché-esque title, but you just can’t turn down an opportunity like that!Twitter

This is a topic that’s been bouncing around the Twitter-verse for quite a while now, and I’ve been spotting it again recently, so naturally I started to think about it. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

When Jesus was here he used a variety of ways to communicate. Obviously he didn’t whip out his iPhone and start organizing Facebook events – as much as I’m sure that would have been useful – but he still did find several ways to communicate with people.

Talking would seem to be the most common form of communication that Jesus used, there are countless parts of the bible that mention Jesus speaking to an individual or a group. It also seems that Jesus sometimes wrote, also. In John 8:6 Jesus writes in the dust and dirt on the ground for a group of Pharisees in the temple.
Also worth noting is how Jesus might shout to speak to a crowd – for example in Matthew 5 at the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke to 5,000!
And then there is Jesus’ disciples. This is a thought that I am glad struck me. As much as it is not a direct form of communication from Jesus, he used his disciples to communicate the message in his place. They acted as a platform that allowed the good news to spread further.

Nowadays there are many different ways for us to communicate. We still have talking and writing obviously, but we also have a postal system, on a global scale! And then of course with new technology we can make calls, faxes, texts, emails, instant messages, video calls! The list is continuing to expand!
Of this long list Twitter is a current favourite of many people in terms of communicating online; with roughly 555 million users, there is a lot of information twittering about!

This leads on to the real question: If Jesus were here today, would he be tweeting?

Communication was, and I suppose still is, crucial for Jesus. His message is everything – so he went about explaining it in the way easiest for everyone else to understand. Even in his use of language, it is reckoned that he spoke the tongue appropriate to his audience.
Considering this, it is likely that Jesus would be on Twitter. The platform is capable of reaching many, and is one of the main ways that people are communicating in this digital age.
Twitter is great for sharing, and that is what Jesus did a lot of. He shared his stories and words of wisdom, and with Twitter he would have 140 characters to do just that!

Then again, Jesus might not be such a  fan of tweeting. He might find it to be impersonal, or that there are too many opportunities for the meaning of his message to be misinterpreted.
If Jesus were tweeting however, I’m fairly sure that he would use it in ways that are different to a lot of us. I certainly wouldn’t expect any pictures of his lunch!

One thing we can be sure of – he would use it in ways that we never could.

And the trolls wouldn’t win.

What do you think?

  • Do you agree with any of this? Would Jesus be a tweeter?
  • Did I miss any other ways Jesus communicated in the Bible?
  • What do you think would happen if Jesus were tweeting today?

Truth – Five Minute Friday

So I thought I’d try this out.
Having a blog with quite a precise focus this could be difficult, but for at least this week I’ll face the challenge! Here goes!

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Truth.

The truth is something that can avoid us online. There are so many ways to decieve and trick, in terms of identity and otherwise.
Some thrive on the anonymity of the web, concealing who they are they feel that there are no consequences to their actions. Trolls, are basically who I am talking about.

There have been some pretty nasty incidents online regarding trolls recently. The problem is that no-one really knows what to do about it, should internet access be cut? Comments sections abandoned?
It’s a shame that the trolls are out there, because they often ruin what could be a perfectly happy system of communication.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this, I think that really it just makes me sad to see what people are doing online, and to also know that it is mostly my generation doing it.

Personally I think that the best thing to do is to ignore them, not to taunt or annoy. If you do that, then surely you are no better?

I think that’s what I’m trying to get at here, that we should all try to be considerate online, and to really try to act as if we’re talking to real people – because we are.

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Please take the time to look at Lisa-Jo Baker’s site, the thinker-upper of Five Minute Fridays, found here.

Please also take a look at the blogs that persuaded me to take part in this, Thorns and Gold and JamesPrescott.co.uk

Can our blogging be evangelistic? Or are we stuck in a Christian Twitter huddle?

Well hello there. It’s been a while, quite a long while.

I realise that this blog has been somewhat neglected over the past few months, but here I am hoping to not let it happen again. If you’re interested, here’s some personal updates since I last posted:

  • I’m a married man now! I got married in July to the most wonderful young woman; we couldn’t be happier!
  • I’m no longer a journalism student. The shorthand was too much for me, obviously. I jest, I could have kept at it, but I suddenly felt that it wasn’t for me anymore, and that I have more skills that could be put to use in my new degree: Entertainment Technology. It’s a lot of video editing, animation and things. I am glad to have done the year of journalism, and I really think that year will help me out with the rest of this new course!

Now, on to the blogging. This is going to be a pretty short blog, partly because I’d like to just ease back into blogging but mainly because I have no conclusions on this – and I would REALLY like to hear from you, hear your opinions.

Blogging is great. Christian blogging is also great.
It’s encouraging, thought provoking and explorative, but could it be more?Facecross?

It seems to me that when it comes to Christian blogging communities, that’s exactly what they are, Christian blogging communities. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it just seems that we can get stuck in a – prepare for a cliché – holy huddle.
On Twitter particularly there is a very strong community of bloggers who support each other, write for each other and critique each other. It can be a really encouraging and welcoming group.
The thing is, we only ever seem to be writing for each other.

Do you think that there is a way to blog, with evangelistic intentions?
I understand that just by putting our blogs out there we are doing some form of evangelism, and may evangelise in ways that we hadn’t forseen, but is there a way for us to intentionally evangelise through our blogs?

I really have no answers, and that’s why I’m hoping to hear from you about this.

Over to you:

  • Can we evangelise through blogging?
  • Do you agree that there is a bit of a ‘holy huddle’ situation going on?
  • Am I completely wrong?

Can Twitter Cope With the Long Lost Latin Language?

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The past year or so has seen the Vatican become more and more technologically adept. The Pope sent his first tweet back in June 2011 (BBC News), through the Vatican news Twitter account. At the same time an online news portal was set-up, as well as YouTube and Facebook accounts.

Since then multiple @Pontifex accounts have been created, through which tweets are sent in 9 different languages, each tweet personally approved by the Pope himself. Overall the @Pontifex accounts have around 2.5 million followers, with the majority following his English account.

Pontifex means “pontiff” or “builder of bridges”, and building bridges is what the accounts – as well as the rest of the social media efforts – are trying to do.

The Vatican has made a real push into bringing back Latin. In November 2011 it launched a Latin Academy within the Vatican, which aims to “promote the knowledge and study of the language from classical times to the present day” (BBC News).

In-keeping with the big Latin push, the Pope recently sent his first Latin tweet (BBC News). This has caused a surprising wave of questions to be thrown out on to the web – the main one being ‘Is Twitter the right place for Latin?’.

@Vickybeeching's tweet

Vicky Beeching (@Vickybeeching) is a theologian who is researching Internet ethics, and has a very keen interest in social media within Christian communities. She asked her Twitter followers what they thought of the Pope tweeting in Latin.

The responses were very varied, @revdchris said that it is “not outdated, not pointless, but rather transcends the stereotypes and encourages rich learning”, whilst another tweeter – @teresaaturner – said that it was “totally pointless and outdated, nobody speaks Latin he should be using language relevant to today”.

 

It seems that there are a lot of strong opinions about this, but to me it all seems a little bit too much fuss for what it is. I know that the Pope is an example and the main representation of the Catholic Church, and that means that his actions are very important. But why does that make latin tweets any more different from any other language. Whilst it is true that Latin is not really a living language anymore there are still those do understand it and see it for it’s traditional value.

If Twitter is able to graciously host conversation in most languages in the world, what’s so different about latin?

 

And anyway, as @SteveRHolmes said: “Latin is a very concise language, that lends itself to pithy statements – perfect for Twitter.”

My favourite tweet has to go to @Nick_Payne, who suggested that “it would be cooler if he tweeted in Klingon, Minbari, Gallifreyan or Elvish.”

 

Over to you:

  • Are you pro Latin tweets? Why?
  • Against? Comment why below.

Vicky Walker chats about blogging and social media

This week I have had the privilege of speaking to writer Vicky Walker (@vicky_walker), to ask her some questions about blogging and social media.

Vicky has written articles for multiple magazines and websites, was asked to speak at CNMAC12 and has also published her own book, –Do I Have to Be Good All the Time? which has received great reviews.
When not writing for Christianity Magazine or Threads, Vicky puts her musings onto her blog.

When I asked Vicky about her blogging, she said:
“Just to throw a spanner in the works, I’m not really a blogger! I write occasionally, when something utterly brilliant occurs to me that the world needs to know. Slightly more seriously, I started off writing books and found little moments that didn’t really fit those themes but were still fun or interesting and a blog seemed to be a good place for them to live.”

I then asked how her blogging affected her as a Christian, to which Vicky replied:

“I like that in 500 words or so those posts can make someone smile or think about something differently. I usually steer away from making big statements on the issues in the Christian world and write about every-day things through a spiritual lens.”

I was interested to see if Vicky thought that blogging could be a useful tool to help others. When asked, she said that:

“It seems blogging is often a ‘thinking out loud’ space which seems to help people process their thoughts and feelings about life and issues. I’m sure that connecting with like-minded people online can be a great source of friendship and comfort.” She went on to talk about the use of social media and blogging in campaigns. Vicky said that it can help to raise awareness, move a debate forward and “gain momentum for campaigns.”

“So many conversations now take place online which otherwise would have been dependent on traditional media. People can create their own platforms now.”

Finally I asked in what ways she saw the Internet, particularly social media, integrating with the future church.

“It seems that church is existing more and more online, creating more integration. Sites like Twitter are at the forefront because of their immediacy. Traditional websites (how things have moved on if websites can already be traditional!) offer a ‘This is us’ approach, telling people what they think they want to know, or what they want them to know.
Social media offers the chance for conversation. Yes, it’s short, sound-bitey and doesn’t always show us at our best, but real connections are made, important news spreads quickly and support, empathy and prayer are offered quickly and willingly among people who may never have met in person. ‘Church’ can exist for people who may not even be able to get out of bed, as community is created.”

I’d like to thanks Vicky for taking the time to answer these questions, and apologise for the lack of ‘trench-coat and searching questions’ that she’d expected of a journalism student.

ImagePlease check out Vicky’s website, as well as her wonderful blog. Don’t forget to follow her on Twitter too! You’re bound to get a laugh for the effort!

So, Why Blog?

Since the Web 2.0 boom in 2002 web-logging or blogging has taken off massively.

NM incite, a company that monitors social media trends to provide marketing tactics to businesses conducted a survey of the global blogging industry. In their results they showed that since 2006, the number of blogs online has increased from 35 million to 108 million at the end of 2011.

That is a huge amount of blogs. So why do they do it?

I asked Twitter users Tanya Marlow (@Tanya_Marlow) and James Prescott (@JamesPrescott77) three questions about their blogs.

First I asked: why do you blog?

James said: “I blog because I love writing and because I feel like I have a message I want to share with the world. I blog because I want to share my experiences and lessons from life in a way which can really help others. Blogging is an outward expression of who I am.”

Tanya replied: “I started writing because I could no longer speak. I had been made housebound from severe chronic illness, and was unable to work or see friends more than twice or three times a week. I felt like I’d had eighteen months of silence. Blogging for me, was my way of declaring to the world, ‘hey! I’m still here! I have thoughts!”

My second question was: how has your blogging affected you?

James told me that: “Blogging has had a huge impact on me. It has helped me build relationships with people I would never have known otherwise, it has also allowed me to discover more about myself as I have explored ideas and written about different issues. It allowed me to have a positive impact on the world – I am always so encouraged when i hear stories of how my blog has impacted people. It’s allowed me to become a better writer and discover my writing voice. It’s become a way I can use my gifts to serve God. I love blogging, and don’t want to stop.”

Tanya said that blogging has, for her “been a really healing process, emotionally.” She went on to say that: “I think it has enabled me to do something constructive with all the thoughts and debates whirling round in my head. I’ve rediscovered a love for creative writing, and even though it wouldn’t be my ‘first choice’ for doing ministry, I’ve realised it is a powerful opportunity, and it feels like I am still able to use some of my gifts to serve God and others. (I hope that’s not too grandiose! It doesn’t feel that way when I’m writing – I feel like I’m writing because I have to – because I have an idea and I need go get it out – but as I reflect I realise it’s an important way of connecting with God and others.)”

Finally I asked: what is your favourite thing about/ aspect of blogging?

James thought that this was a “Tough question!” but went on to say that “Its a tie between building new relationships, creating new work and discovering more about myself and God. All of these are amazing blessings from blogging – if I really had to narrow it down to one, it would be building relationships.”

Tanya says that she has two favourite things about blogging, one is “the sense of achievement. I’m rubbish at practical stuff, art and craft, but I can shape words.  Perhaps there is something about being in the image of God, and the sense of pleasure at creating something from nothing.”

Her other favourite thing is: “the support and community that comes through blogging. When you publish something, you take a risk. Writing is quite a vulnerable business, and what I write carries a big investment of energy and emotion. If you write a book, there are months between writing it and getting positive feedback; with blogging, it can be mere seconds.  The length of time between panicking, ‘oh no! What if I’m the only one who thinks like this?’ to reading, ‘you too? Me too!’ on the comments is gratifyingly small.”

A huge amount of thanks to both James and Tanya for taking the time to give such genuine, informative replies.
Just from these two responses you get a very positive glimpse on blogging. I love this quote from Tanya, “Blogging for me, was my way of declaring to the world, ‘hey! I’m still here! I have thoughts!”. To me it really demonstrates how much blogging can impact a life. And I for one am glad that they have found their voices, it’s great to read what both Tanya’s and James’ have to say.

Your turn:

Maybe you could answer the same questions?

– Why do you blog? If you don’t blog, why not?

– How has your blogging affected you?

– What is your favourite thing about/ aspect of blogging?

 Tanya runs a fantastic blog, Thorns and Gold. She is unfortunately a sufferer of M.E (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), and has been for over 6 years. Spending most of her time at home with her toddler, Tanya writes beautiful blogs that I very much recommend you check out.

James also has a fantasic blog at jamesprescott.co.uk. James is a great writer whose blog is incredibly encouraging. He hopes to leave a positive impact on the world, and is passionate about encouraging others in whatever way he can.

Stories, Social Media and Pickles – CNMAC12

 

So the Saturday just gone was awesome.
Not the most technical term I know, but probably one of the most accurate.20121022-134742.jpg

For those that don’t know, Saturday the 20th of October was the Christian New Media Conference, held by Xianne New Media in partnership with Codec and Premier Christian Media.

This conference aims to take a look at current and emerging media and technologies, and apply them to church. Roughly.

The day was brilliant. With over 25 speakers in a range of different talk ‘streams’ there was something for everyone. And there was a lot of ‘everyone’.

I was on of the 400 odd men and women that travelled to Kings College London for the conference. From a show of hands in the main lecture theatre it seemed that attendance this year had nearly doubled from the previous year.

Social media was a key part of the conference. Not only was it one of the main focus of the speakers, but it was extensively used by those attending. And I mean extensively.
On average there were 500 tweets an hour pouring onto the #cnmac12 hashtag.

There is far too much for me to include in a blog post, which leaves me with asking you some questions instead.

 

  • If you attended the conference, what was your best bit?
  • What was the main message to you?
  • If you didn’t or did attend, will you be next year? Why?

 

Thanks for reading, it would be great if you could comment!

One last thing: Pickle.

Rat Brains Could Create Conscious, Praying Robots?

It seems the robot world is advancing rapidly. The use of rat brain cells within a robot being the exciting new development.Rat Brain Cells In a video found on the BBC news site questions were asked about this new ‘brain’ for robots.

Not the normal ‘how does it work?’ type questions either. No, instead there were discussions on the ethics of this. Whilst seeming bizarre, it is something to consider. As said in the video, this new type of brain could allow robots to have a far more ‘real’ brain. Soon they could not only learn new information in the same way that we do, but be conscious too.

This raised another question: If robots could pray, who would they pray to? The question was posed to Rt Rev Peter Hancock, the Bishop of Basingstoke. Check out the video, found Here and look out particularly for the prayer question, found between 1.45 – 2.10 of the video.

The bishop seems to me to be avoiding the question, just giving a very vague answer to satisfy the film crew. Or maybe that is what he thinks, but that’s for you to decide.

Of course all of this is still relatively distant ideas, but an interesting prospect to consider.

What do you think?

  • Are you worried by the rapid increase in robotic brains? Or embracing of this expanding area of tech?
  • If robots could pray, who would they pray too?
  • Is it right to consider robots praying?