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Digital Theology MA

Digital Jesus

Durham University is, in September, starting an MA in digital theology.

The study will focus on two dimensions: (1) how Christians engage with the digital world; (2) theological reflections around the new(ish) digital reality.

The first focus has had a lot of engagement here on this website:
Church in a Facebook World
Using Facebook as your Website
I have regularly reflected on the slowness with which the church has seen the digital world as a place for mission, a sacred place, a resource for mission and ministry. Where are church leaders being trained and formed in today’s technology?
The course will look at things like “can you have sacraments online?” – we began the discussion here 8 years ago: Can sacraments work in the virtual world?
We have treated this space as a community. There are people committed to praying for all those who visit here. And so forth.

The second focus of the MA course needs far more attention:
developing theology and ethical frameworks about such things as artificial intelligence

Ps. Here’s a couple of recent good examples of church websites:
St Stephen’s I haven’t seen this use of a moving gif image so effectively – and everything is simple and easy to find.
Community of the Beatitudes They are clear what their goal is for this new site: ‘In the spirit of the “new evangelisation” we hope to use this technology to spread the Gospel message, share about our charism, and generate contact with everyone willing to get to know us more.’
Both sites are mobile friendly which is highly important. The Beatitudes site has a simpler URL.

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4 Responses to Digital Theology MA

  1. Hi Bosco — thanks for the comment on St Mary’s webpage. We’ve recently started to live-stream our 10am Sunday services on Facebook, thanks to an enthusiastic and web-savvy parishioner. Too early to tell what fruit this might bear, but we’ve been getting between 40-150 views for each video, including those who view it live and those who view it sometime later. The Timaru Herald did a piece on it which I’ve posted to my Facebook page: facebook.com/StMarysTimaru/. The Herald called us and asked to do the piece, which I think in itself indicates some interest in the community about such web services.

    • Thanks, John. And this is great! Some who do this have been concerned that doing this will reduce attendance – some people will just stay at home, even watching it later. It will be good to have proper, wide statistical analysis of this, but anecdotally the opposite appears to be the case. I would simply be cautious of your use of the word “web-savvy” – it might put people off. I have previously mentioned a vicar (younger than I am) of an elderly congregation saying that having a parish facebook page is beyond his skills. For those who think there are arcane skills involved in live streaming on facebook – it is done by simply clicking a button on the facebook page. Yes – you can make it more complex beyond that, but every parish priest can live stream on their parish facebook page – even if it’s simply sitting in their office inviting people to the next Sunday service. Blessings.

      • Thanks, Bosco. By the way, this same person (the parishioner formerly known as web-savvy) has offered to help other parishioners to learn how better to use their computers. He’s very generous with his time and knowledge — to everyone’s benefit.

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About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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