Saturday, March 13, 2010

Theology after Google -- closing thoughts

It has been a great three days, sharing together at Theology after Google in a conversation about how the internet and other technologies are driving our faith conversations and practices.  The project was born of Philip Clayton's desire to see the theological conversation become more democratized.  Philip was aided in this venture by a number of people, but especially Tripp Fuller and Tony Jones.  I appreciate the efforts of all involved -- from the grad students who ferried us around to the presenters and on to the rest of the participants.  I'm greatly appreciative of the invitation and the good care taken of me while at the conference!

We focused our attention in the conference on the the technologies than on the theology in the conversation.  We talked social networking, blogging, film, podcasts and more.  We were pressed to consider whether the current structures, whether the Academy and the church as we know it, are going to be useful in the future to transform the world.  In my own presentation I offered a cautionary note, reminding the community that we need to remember those who came before us (and some who live now) who have lived faithfully and pass on to us a legacy of faith.  Must all change?  That is my question!

One of the observations that came at the end of the day concerned the lack of diversity among the presenters.  Most of us are white males.  That may be due in part to our dominance of the blogosphere, but we are pushed to consider how to expand the conversation partners.  If we're going to democratize the conversation, it needs to be more than inviting white lay folk into the conversation.

All in all, it was a great conference, but one that requires a lot of thought as to where the conversation goes next.  So we begin the journey into the unknown -- seeking to understand what it means to live theologically in the shadow of Google!


tripp fuller said...

thanks for coming bob. great to see you again.

Rocky said...

Good to meet you, Bob. You and Knightopia inspired me to re-work my own blogging habits.

Philip said...

Bob, you made tremendous contributions to the TAG conference -- thank you for being there and for speaking.

The racial issue -- as one manifestation of the concern about diversity, which was expressed several times -- concerns me. When I spoke afterwards with the two students who voiced these thoughts, we quickly moved to the broader concern that it's the perception of the institutions that host these conversations (in this case, Claremont School of Theology) that is the first problem. The problem is NOT that only white Protestants use Facebook!

Wesley Menke said...

Nice to meet you Bob at TAG!

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Tripp, thanks for all you do! It's always a pleasure to be with you -- and with your Dad.

Rocky and Wesley, it was good to meet you and everyone at the conference.

Philip, thank you for organizing the event and inviting me to participate in the conference. I think we made a good beginning, but now we need to see where this takes us and how we might expand the conversation. The ethnicity/gender divide is one that I think we need to look at, to see what that means.

There are, of course, institutional issues, but there are also issues of who knows whom.

Anyway, great conference, but glad to back in my own bed!