I was using this book a lot in a recent talk I gave: Brandon Vogt’s The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activitsts, and Bishops who Tweet.
Vogt himself writes a helpful introduction (about the way the Church has used different media at the service of the gospel over many centuries) and conclusion (about where it’s all going: some of the possibilities, and some of the dangers).
But most of the book consists of short articles and reflections by cutting-edge practitioners, people who have taken the plunge and got stuck in – perhaps making many mistakes along the way, but learning to see the huge value of using the new media.
There are four main sections that deal with evangelisation, Christian formation, building community, and serving the common good. So it’s not a narrow discussion about blogging and tweeting, but a rich and broad presentation of the multifarious ways that people are using new media to good effect.
There are huge and well-known projects that have already had an international influence, like Fr Robert Barron’s Word on Fire and Shaun Carney’s online pro-life work. But there are also lots of stories about how ordinary parishes can improve their use of digital media by getting involved in social networking or simply learning to connect with their parishioners better through websites and texting. So there are small and practical tips for ordinary Christians as well as big flashes of inspiration for those sensing a call to step out as evangelists.
Lots of information for the uninformed; lots of ideas for those who feel they should be doing something. It’s well worth getting a copy.
The Church finds herself in the midst of a technological revolution, the biggest communication shift since the advent of the printing press.
The printing press created an information explosion, allowing people to absorb tremendous amounts of knowledge. But this modern, digital revolution brings a new type of communication. It pairs content with dialogue, discussion, and relationship, moving beyond a one-way flow of information.
New tools have burst onto the scene to provide this dual-offering of knowledge and community. Nicknamed “New Media”, these tools include social media, blogs, podcasts, video-casts, mobile media, and interactive websites.
Finding herself in a world that has dramatically embraced these tools, the Church is at a crossroad. If her missions of evangelization, formation, community-building, and social-justice are to continue in future generations, she must harness these tools and utilize them now. Thankfully, many Catholics are doing just that.
The Church and New Media brings together innovators, visionaries, and experts on the relationship between faith and technology, packaging their wisdom into the definitive book on New Media and the Church. It shows not only how the Church can exist in the digital age, but how she can effectively proclaim the Gospel today.
In addition to profiling many New Media innovators and relevant Church teachings, the book features chapters by the following New Media experts:
*Cardinal Seán O’Malley*
Introduction / The Digital Continent
Part One / Put Out Into the Deep: New Media & Evangelization
Chapter One / The Virtual Areopagus: Digital Dialogue with the Unchurched
*Fr. Robert Barron*
Chapter Two / Into the Light: Sharing the Spiritual Journey
Chapter Three / Speaking Their Language: Connecting with Young Adults
Part Two / That the World May Know: New Media & Formation
Chapter Four / Modern Epistles: Blogging the Faith
Chapter Five / New Wineskins: Fresh Presentations of Ancient Tradition
Chapter Six / Digital Discourse: The New Apologetics
*Fr. Dwight Longenecker*
Part Three / Fostering the Flock: New Media & Community
Chapter Seven / Innovative Shepherding: New Media in the Diocese
Chapter Eight / High-Tech Community: New Media in the Parish
Chapter Nine / That They May Be One: Cultivating Online Community
Part Four / To the Ends of the Earth: New Media & Mission
Chapter Ten / Changing the World: New Media Activism
Chapter Eleven / Moving Mountains: Building a Digital Movement
*Shawn Carney (40 Days for Life)*
Conclusion / To Infinity and Beyond: The Future of the Church and New Media
*Archbishop Timothy Dolan*