Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age

Pope Benedict XVI during visit to São Paulo, B...
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I have enjoyed Pope Benedict’s message on World Communications Day over the past few years. I wanted to share a small portion with you today from the Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the 45th World Communications Day – Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age:

“The task of witnessing to the Gospel in the digital era calls for everyone to be particularly attentive to the aspects of that message which can challenge some of the ways of thinking typical of the web. First of all, we must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its “popularity” or from the amount of attention it receives. We must make it known in its integrity, instead of seeking to make it acceptable or diluting it. It must become daily nourishment and not a fleeting attraction. The truth of the Gospel is not something to be consumed or used superficially; rather it is a gift that calls for a free response. Even when it is proclaimed in the virtual space of the web, the Gospel demands to be incarnated in the real world and linked to the real faces of our brothers and sisters, those with whom we share our daily lives. Direct human relations always remain fundamental for the transmission of the faith!”

Here are a few points that I particularly appreciate from this short paragraph:

  • The reminder that the truth of the gospel is not based on how many Likes or Retweets that are received.
  • The good news of Jesus Christ is not something to be consumed, but rather something that calls for a response
  • Meeting people face to face is important.

Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions about this selection? I commend the entire message to you.

Social Media and US Catholic Bishops

Printing press from 1811, photographed in Muni...
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The US Catholic Bishops are Urged to Embrace Social Media in Order to Effectively Evangelize ‘Digital Continent’

“Although social media has been around for less than 10 years, it doesn’t have the makings of a fad,” said Bishop Herzog. “We’re being told that it is causing as fundamental a shift in communication patterns and behavior as the printing press did 500 years ago. And I don’t think I have to remind you of what happened when the Catholic Church was slow to adapt to that new technology,” he said, referencing the Protestant Reformation.

“Anyone can create a blog,” he noted. “Everyone’s opinion is valid. And if a question or contradiction is posted, the digital natives expect a response and something resembling a conversation. We can choose not to enter into that cultural mindset, but we do so at great peril to the Church’s credibility and approachability in the minds of the natives, those who are growing up in this new culture. This is a new form of pastoral ministry.”

It is pretty heady stuff to make compare social media to the printing press and possible outcomes similar to the Protestant Reformation. I believe that there is “a new form of pastoral ministry” to be explored and developed.

How do you feel about this comparison and guidance?

Guidance and Encouragement with Andrew Conard

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I believe that renewal is possible within The United Methodist Church. While there are many avenues that this renewal will continue to occur, one of them is in leaders mentoring other leaders. I recognize that I have much to learn and experience, however I believe that I may be able to offer some guidance and encouragement to those who are pursuing ordination as an Elder in the UMC.

I want to offer and receive guidance and encouragement for one year. I commit to monthly conversations for mutual encouragement, learning and guidance. I will do what I can to help you be successful in reaching the goals that God has made real in your life.

Only 1 spot is available.

The application is open to anyone, however I recognize this is not going to be the best fit for all people. I am currently serving as Pastor of Resurrection Online and in that role hope to use technology as a tool to build a Christian community where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians online and in person. I was ordained as an Elder in Full Connection in the Kansas West Annual Conference last year and hope to be helpful to someone who will be ordained from 2013 to 2016.

If you are interested, please email me at with “Guidance and Encouragement” in the subject line and please respond to: Will you please tell me about yourself?

Why would this be helpful for you?

What are you hoping for?

Deadline is October 20, 2010.

I was inspired to try this by Kent Shaffer, author of Church Relevance in his post at Free Coaching with Kent Shaffer.