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Jason Byassee and I were introduced to each other a summer or so ago by a mutual friend. Even in the short time over coffee that we had to connect and find out more about each other, the conversation sounded in part like this essay of his published at the New Media Project’s website. This was a good read, it went into my library immediately, and will serve equally well in religious and secular conversations.

…The final question for technology, as it is for anything we evaluate theologically, is this: How can we use it to love God and neighbor more? It can be used to augment relationship, to maintain contact over time and space—not as a substitute for face-to-face friendship, meals together, mutual prayer and worship and laughter and bodily touch, but as an extender of memory of what’s missing in those things when we are away from one another. It can be used to teach. Theology attempts to show the world the delight of what we do as we worship and then think about God. I’m impressed with pastors who write blogs, who send out e-blasts, who post status updates on Facebook that tilt their people’s attention toward God. Travel and communication can be a good thing for missions: as Dana Robert says, “Just as the Roman roads and galleys carried Paul and his helpers across the Roman empire, the colonial rails and steamers carried a cadre of youthful mission enthusiasts around the world.”[21] And in an age of non-western missionaries, this might be cheaper than ever. Prognosticators say we won’t be traveling, so we’ll need the Internet in order not to be too parochial…

Read the rest of Practicing Virtue with Social Media: An “Undetermined” Response at New Media Project

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