The world is rapidly changing. It’s face is changing — how it appears. The vehicles of communication are changing — how we interact. And in a McLuhan-esque ethic, humanity is also changing — who we really are.
GodBlogCon is one of those fascinating growths out of this new era of change. Whether it is inconsequential, or a delightful and unexpected flower in the garden of our global community I suppose is yet to be determined. I found it highly fascinating, and for some reason my mind was taken back to the mid-90s in a bizarre flashback to when I saw the movie The Lawnmower Man, a Stephen King novel turned film.
For context sake, I included a snippet of the GodblogCon web page here, and I offer my usual thoughts on what all this means and implies for the Church in the context of this culture, and how the Stephen King story illuminates why we all can’t see what’s happening right before our eyes.
A reader of the GodblogCon blog recently inquired:
Found GodblogCon on the BlogWorld expo website and would like to know more about who you are, what you do, how you plan to do it, etc. The info here seems a little sparse so far so please feel free to e-mail me. I’m a married Christian woman living in Las Vegas, NV, who has recently started her own blog. Blessings!
On Wed, 11 Jun 2008 00:11:53, they posted their response. Here are pertinent excerpts of that post that I find relevant to the conversation with bolded and italicized highlights.
GodblogCon is a gathering, it is a fellowship of Christian bloggers, of cultural revolutionaries, of technological visionaries, of professors and pastors, of networkers and authors, of lawyers, poets, pundits, web designers and coders, men, and women who all share one central concern: the advancement of Christ and His kingdom through blogging and internet technologies.
…Furthermore, GodblogCon connects our attendees with the leading companies and technologies in the internet media industry.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, GodblogCon intentionally builds friendships and community among our attendees through a series of forums and events.
…The mandate for our attendees is clear. Internet technology is radically redefining many social and media norms. The power and potential of the internet has not gone unnoticed, yet many are unsure what the final outcome of this period of change (brought by the internet) will be. Christians must be made aware of the changes and they must be educated to interact well with emerging internet media technologies. Christians can not afford to critique these changes, to curse the darkness, from the safety of their pews and cultural commentaries. Christians must bring the light of Christ to the fore of this new industry; GodblogCon is our opportunity to do just that!
The Fox News video on BlogWorld 2007 had some phrases that were powerfully telling and insightful into the mind of BlogWorld as well,
Blogging is “completely unfiltered” and “completely authentic.” It’s “old and new.” It is the “end of the wild west era of [political] blogging.”
While controversial, I can’t help but continually suggest that as we engage with this rapidly changing world, and the vehicles of its communication, faith and life are also being radically transformed and even redefined as it takes on these new forms and interacts with these mediums. I appreciate the sentiment that the post above ended with (in the last paragraph, italicized), but it must also be noted that the changes that are happening are perhaps just as influential to our faith as our faith is to the world. The medium is the message, as McLuhan has taught us. So yes, while negative critique is an activity we ought to avoid, especially when it is “cursing the darkness,” not only ought Christians be the light, but we ought to ask the question, what kind of a light are we also becoming?
I heard once (and I apologize for not having a reference), that the world was once governed by a tribal ethic. We moved, in recent years, into an individual ethic. As postmodernity takes a stronger hold and as time moves progressively forward, we find ourselves in a paradoxical reality of the two; i.e. a “tribe of individuals.” If this is true, and if the lines of individuality and community are continually blurred, we are not only losing a sense of identity, but closely following, we are losing any real sense of reality (and yes I recognize the somewhat nonsensical nature of that statement). This brings me to my flashback of the movie “The Lawnmower Man”.
In the trailer, the narrator describes,
a world where the normal course of events could suddenly turn inside out — the imaginary becomes real, and reality is all in your mind.
Towards the end of the movie, there is the dramatic scene where Pierce Brosnan’s character says several powerful statements,
This technology is meant to expand human communication, but you’re not even human anymore. …
The character “Job” says,
I am god [in] here.
Brosnan’s character responds,
You’ve lost all your power over the physical world once you transferred in here.
The movie ends with this,
If we can somehow embrace our wisdom instead of ignorance, this technology will free the mind of man, not enslave it.
This may be a little too “science-fiction” for the world in which we live today, and this may sound a bit crazy in light of the current grasp we believe we have on reality and what the mediums are doing to us as a people. But I’m willing to bank on being a bit crazy, and I am sensing some degree of degradation in myself as I continue to blog.
- Are we becoming less human as we approach a technology that is designed to expand human communication?
- Could it be possible that the very mediums that we are using to “reach out and touch someone” (cf.AT&T) are actually diminishing our abilities to connect?
- Could it be possible that we actually lose power or any real grasp of interpersonal and interconnected relationships as we engage more through electronic means?
- And are we really being wise in embracing this new technology so freely, and so fully resulting in a “Huxleyan” enslavement?
I beg of these questions to permeate their way through this medium so that we can be as aware as possible, and therefore as wise as possible, and perhaps move slower and more cautiously through this phenomenon we call the “blogosphere.”