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New Media and the closing window of opportunity (blogging from GodBlogCon)

Andy Rau

Tonight was the GodBlogCon kickoff--the speaker was John Mark Reynolds, who launched the conference with a presentation about how Christians ought to engage the New Media, of which blogging is one small aspect.

It was extremely thought-provoking. I won't attempt to summarize everything he said--that would be too difficult an exercise for my brain tonight, which hasn't quite made the transition from Michigan to California time--but I'll try to give you the gist of the presentation.

Two things from Reynolds' presentation stood out most prominently to me. The first is a somewhat ominous warning for Christian bloggers and anybody looking to do online ministry: the window of opportunity during which Christians can become a shaping influence in the internet-powered New Media is closing fast. Just as Christians in the past failed to be an influencing factor in the rise of Hollywood and the film world--we were instead relegated to simply sniping at it from outside the walls--we are at risk of missing our opportunity to shape the world of blogging and New Media while the chance is there. The day is not far off when these new media outlets will be brought under the control of a few major profit-driven players, and Christians will be marginalized again if we haven't taken the initiative to leave our mark on it.

That's a fairly dire warning, but Reynolds' second point was much more positive. The internet and related tools are, in Reynolds' view, the perfect media in which Christians can work out and model what a Christian worldview looks like. Through these technologies, we have the unprecedented ability to tell stories and create a working "Christian mythology"--a grand, imperfect, but Christ-focused model of the Christian worldview. By continually examining our own beliefs, and by confidently putting our beliefs out clearly for all to see, examine, and critique, we can show people online how they should be living in the "real world."

That's a woefully inadequate version of Reynolds' presentation; for more of his points, see this post at GodBlogCon site. Personally, I found his argument compelling, inspiring, and a little bit frightening. I think he's on target with his warning about the closing window of opportunity. And his vision of a virtual Christian world is a stirring one--you can bet I'll be thinking long and hard about how we at ThinkChristian can better model the Christian life and, in doing so, point people to the Cross.

But that thinking will have to come later, because right now I'm tired and am going to call it a night. GodBlogCon is off to a great start; I'll post as often as I'm able as the conference continues tomorrow and Saturday.

Topics: Online