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People of the Facebook?: Biblical Conversation, Community, and Social Media...

People of the Facebook?: Biblical Conversation, Community, and Social Media
Traditionally, engagement with scripture has been characterized by sustained reflection with a body of text. While various communities have long gathered to study the Bible—from clandestine Medieval readers of vernacular Bible translations to local Bible study groups to online discussion chains to national and international scholarly and religious conferences—the modern norm has been for biblical reflection even in community to proceed from private, individual reading and reflection into community. This talk explores how the social structuring of new media like Facebook and Twitter changes the ways in which we approach and interpret sacred texts on the basis of new ways of developing and sustaining distributed, collaborative spiritual communities that are promising for both religious organizations and developers of the technologies that support them.

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    People of the Facebook People of the Facebook Presentation Transcript

    • + People of the Facebook? Biblical Conversation, Community, and Social Media Elizabeth Drescher, PhD Church Divinity School of the Pacific March 26, 2010
    • + Presentation Overview   A Brief Apology   The Social Logic of Communication   Issues in Digital Hermeneutics   What Designers, Religious Leaders, and Users Can Do   Your Comments and Questions
    • + The Medium is Not the Message “In the name of ‘progress,’ our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old.” ~Marshall McLuhan, 1967
    • + From Wyclif to Zuckerberg*: Tracing the Social Logic of Communication Historical Dominant Cultural Primary Source of Available Context Communication Communication Communication Authority Communication Mode Logic Practice Tools Pre-modern Oral/Aural Grammatical Interpersonal What is said Stories Dialectical Verse Forms Rhetorical Structural Images Early Modern Print Dialectical Private What is written Broadsides Rhetorical Books Grammatical Pamphlets Magazines High Modern Broadcast Rhetorical Public What is Radio Dialectical presented Television Grammatical Movie Photograph Telegraph Telephone Microphone Postmodern Digital Grammatical Interactive What is re- Email Rhetorical presented Internet Dialectical Video Social Networking Cell Phone Texting PDA * Gratefully adapted from Keith Anderson’s wonderful presentation, “From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg, available online at http://tinyurl.com/yjjcxqe
    • + Social Logic of Communication   Classical Trivium of the liberal arts:   Grammar—Structure/Rules   Dialectic—Reasoning/Argument   Rhetoric—Presentation/Persuasion   In the classical pedagogical tradition, the levels of the trivium were equated to social categories:   Grammar—Childhood/Female/Slave   Dialectic—Adolescence/Boy/Peasant or Laity   Rhetoric—Adulthood/Man/Lord or Clergy
    • + From Wyclif to Zuckerberg*: Tracing the Social Logic of Communication Historical Dominant Cultural Primary Source of Available Context Communication Communication Communication Authority Communication Mode Logic Practice Tools Pre-modern Oral/Aural Grammatical Interpersonal What is said Stories Dialectical Verse Forms Rhetorical Structural Images Early Modern Print Dialectical Private What is written Broadsides Rhetorical Books Grammatical Pamphlets Magazines High Modern Broadcast Rhetorical Public What is Radio Dialectical presented Television Grammatical Movie Photograph Telegraph Telephone Microphone Postmodern Digital Grammatical Interactive What is re- Email Rhetorical presented Internet Dialectical Video Social Networking Cell Phone Texting PDA * Gratefully adapted from Keith Anderson’s wonderful presentation, “From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg, available online at http://tinyurl.com/yjjcxqe
    • + Pre-Modern Worries for Post-Modern Bible Study For it is a dangerous thing, as blessed St. Jerome witnessed, to translate the text of the holy Scripture out of one tongue into another; for in translation the same sense is not easily kept, as the same St. Jerome confessed, that although he was inspired, yet oftentimes in this he erred: we therefore decree and ordain, that no man, hereafter, by his own authority translate any text of Scripture into English or any other tongue by way of book, libel, or treatise; and that no man read any such book, libel, or treatise, not lately set forth in the time of John Wickliffe, or since, or hereafter to be set forth, in part of in whole, privately or in the open, upon pain of greater excommunication, until the translation is allowed by the ordinary of the place, or, if the case so require, by the council provincial. He that shall do contrary to this, shall likewise be punished as a favorer of error and heresy. ~The Constitutions of Archbishop Thomas Arundel, 1409 (modernized from John Foxe’s 1563 English translation in Acts and Monuments, AMS Press, 1965)
    • + From Lexical Translation to Digital Transformation   Translation, from the Latin translatio, to carry across or to bring across:   The act of rendering into another language; interpretation; as, “The translation of idioms is difficult.”   The act of translating, removing, or transferring; removal; also, the state of being translated or removed; as, “the translation of Enoch”; “the translation of a bishop.”   Transformation, from the Latin transformare, to change the shape of:   A thorough or dramatic change in appearance; as, “The artist transformed a rough stone into a beautiful statue.”   A metamorphosis in the lifecycle of an animal or plant; as when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.   A process by which an element in the underlying deep structure of a system is converted to an element in the surface structure; as when grammatical forms (Noun-Verb-Noun) are transformed into sentences in conversation (“Sally ran home.”).
    • + Issues in Digital Hermeneutics   Cross-media translation and transformation   Interpretive authority   Distributed interactivity   Error management
    • + iTalk to God: Cross-Media and Platform Translation and Transformation Bible Promises Bible Quiz 201 Comic Jesus A Buddhist Children's Bible Bible Daily Devotions for Women More than 400 bible-related iPhone TouchWord Bible Tree Bible iArt Pocket Bible Apps (not counting searches for (Free) “Jesus”, “Christian”, and similar terms.
    • + Legos and Interpretive Authority Illustrations from thebricktestament.com. Used by permission. “…for in translation the same sense is not easily kept…”
    • + Distributed Interactivity: Tweeting to the Disciples
    • + The Bible on Facebook: Ever Expanding Interpretive Communities and Strategies   A search of “bible” on Facebook currently yields more than 42,000 results (not including “Jesus,” “Christian,” and related search terms)   “Greatest Hits” include: The Bible (Also) The Bible 28,471 fans (No, Really) The Bible 1,958,537 fans Created by the Rev. Mark Brown Creator unidentified 10,933 fans Australian Anglican Priest, blogger, Accra, Ghana Created by Valerie Smith Site purpose: “The Bible contains the Atlanta, GA founder of the Anglican Second mind of God, the state of man, the way of Site purpose is to gather “1,000,000 men Life Cathedral, “ministry salvation, the doom of sinners, and the and women of God who believes in THE entrepreneur” happiness of believers.” BIBLE- is right!”
    • + And Open-Ended Interpretive Process
    • + Affirmative, Non-Critical Exchange
    • + A More Limited Exchange of Texts
    • + Error Management: The Wikipedia Effect   Thegreater the general interest in the content…   The more textually and visually developed the content…   The more editorial access people have to the content…   Thegreater the factual accuracy and critical quality of the content.
    • + The Digital Translation Challenge   De-textualization of Scripture   De-contextualization of Scripture   De-institutionalizing of Scripture   Disembodiment of Scripture
    • + What Designers, Religious Leaders, and Users Can Do   Extend contextual linkages   Expand interactivity   Encourage platform transfer across digital and physical platforms
    • + About Me… I am a Christian spirituality scholar who explores the practice of faith by ordinary believers today and in the past. I am particularly interested in how ordinary believers have reshaped the Church by using resources that are traditionally thought of as being under the control of "elite" religious and academic authorities in the contexts of their daily lives. In pre-modern Christian communities, this often involved access by laypeople and lower clergy to spiritual and theological writings and the involvement of laypeople in the day-to-day management of cathedrals, churches, and guilds. Today, new social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are much at the center of new practices of religious leadership, communication, and community, and this is the focus of much of my current research, writing, and speaking. As a writer, public speaker, educator, spiritual director, and Elizabeth Drescher, PhD preacher, I am committed to supporting the spiritual nurture and www.elizabethdrescher.net growth of ordinary believers by exploring with them the elizabeth@elizabethdrescher.net complicated relationship between religion, culture, and personal and community well-being. As a person of faith in a pluralistic, post-Christian, and post -traditional world, I attempt to practice a spirituality of inclusiveness, critical reflection, and practical engagement with those in need.