Digital and Divine
“Find your why and you’ll find your way.”John C. Maxwell
As a strategist, storyteller, and parent, it seems I’m constantly asking what I call the 3W’s: Who? What? and Why? These simple questions have helped me to find my way in the digital age.
What I do, both professionally and personally, is examine and explore the intersectionality of the digital and divine in daily life. The digital media we digest (social media, internet, etc.) meets our embedded understanding of the Divine (God, faith, religion, spirituality, church), and collides with the stresses, joys, heartbreaks, and happiness we experience in our daily lives.
- What are houses of faith doing to enter the digital world?
- What does this mean for church as we knew it?
- What does this say about our understanding of God, the Sacraments, and spirituality?
- To what extent do digital interactions influence our sense of community or expression of faith?
Why is this something I spend so much time and energy thinking about, working on, talking about, and researching?
First, I am sick of only one expression of faith having the bullhorn. The trauma and harm that has been done by the evangelical church have been made clear over the course of the last several years. It is time progressive folks of faith, who believe in equity, equality, welcoming the stranger, justice, and love for ALL have platforms from which to declare the life-giving love of God – not the condemnation, fear centered, judgment filled rhetoric of the fundamentalist/evangelical church. For me, having been born and raised in the Pentecostal movement and knowing first hand the emotional, spiritual, physical, and financial trauma that comes from such theology, I can’t let it go. I can’t keep silent and allow such harm to continue.It is a prophetic time in history. It is time to, “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:24 (NRSV)
We live in what is known as the Digital Age, allowing for the mobilization of people and ideas at a rate never seen before. Social networking has taken over our planet. Fashion trends, global industries, and governments rise and fall at the hands of a strong social network. The convergence of the Internet with personal electronic devices like smartphones along with the use of the Internet for social purposes have completely transformed the way information and opinions are shared.
According to a Boston University Center for Mobile Communication Studies article, “The online social mobile communication is not just a communication tool, but it is the accelerator and amplifier that enable the social movement to turn bigger.” The social movement is the norm in the 21st century. Just as social networks can do harm, they can also be utilized to mobilize for justice, advocacy, and what the late Rep. John Lewis called stirring up some, “Good trouble” and what I like to call doing “social good.”
“Who cares, anyway?”
Well, I’m hoping you! If my “Why?” matters to me, then surely it matters to other people…at least some people…right? I want to meet these folks. I want to learn from them, talk with them, partner with them, and try to change the world with them. Okay, maybe the “change the world” part is a stretch, but you get what I’m saying. I want my why to make a difference in the world – even if it’s just a small difference – and I can’t do that alone.
Exploring the intersection of digital, divine, and daily life – that’s what I do. My faith and the divine – whatever that means or whatever that is on any given day – matters to me. The sacraments, the church, and the way we do or don’t use digital media for social good matters to me. Why? Because my family, friends, community, and the world matter.