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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Virtual

Following the final edit on Wednesday’s blog post about the communications issues around voting in my mostly rural community, I clicked on an email I had put off reading for several days. It was an article from The Alban Institute, and while they are always interesting, I also knew the piece would keep until I had time to read it. As soon as I started reading, however, I knew the voting post and this article were different parts of the same issue.

The article in question was by Carol Howard Merritt, the author of Reframing Hope and Tribal Church. She is a writer and thinker whose work we discuss from time to time in our various office conversations. This particular piece is titled Virtual Community and you can read it here .

Merritt discusses how pastoral care has changed from the days when you could drop in on a congregation member unannounced, or count on mothers to “host Bible studies in their living rooms at 10:00 a.m. every Tuesday.” She talks about the deep and abiding shift that has occurred in our society, and how it has impacted people.

Merritt describes not only how people’s lives have changed, but the different ways they now communicate with their pastors. “The forms of communication are evolving rapidly from emails, to text messaging, to social networking sites—and we are not sure what might be on the horizon” she says. While many may attempt to resist this new world, the truth is that it is too late. The future is here, and whether we lament it or not, that is the world we now live in.

The good news is that, while the internet has risks, it also has many possibilities which can enhance our communication with our members and with each other. In other words, on-line communities and new social media can make our congregational life richer by providing for interaction and communication in addition to what happens on Sundays. While most of us would have no interest in going exclusively to a virtual community, to ignore this dimension of modern life would be a big mistake.

So read the article, then ask yourself how the internet has changed your life in the past 10 years. You may even wish to share those reflections with the rest of us!

Posted by Carman .

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