Saturday, February 06, 2010

Theology after Gutenberg

I remember a day, years ago now, when I paused on deadline in the newsroom to give thanks for Google.

As an editor at a major metro daily newspaper, I had spent the earlier years of my career relying on an amazing array of reference books to research and confirm information in the stories I was responsible to edit -- phone books, cross-directories, almanacs, the AP Stylebook, Webster's New World Dictionary, the newspaper's own electronic clip library.

With Google, I could check many more references, including almost any primary source associated with the subjects of the stories. In later years, the whole world would open up through satellite map images, complex and interactive election result databases, even online dictionaries.

I paused on deadline that day, almost a decade ago, and gave thanks, but it would be many more years before I actually accepted "Googled" as a verb.

Google transformed my work as an editor, and I knew it. I had no clue, though, how Google and other emerging communications media would Google up the journalism world.

I left the newsroom in 2005, and the transformation of this new media world in just that time has been phenomenal.

I left the newsroom to attend seminary, and I see amazing parallels between journalism and theology. Many of them beautiful parallels about the connections people make through sharing meaningful stories.

I also see the need for both journalism and theology to move beyond Gutenberg. The printing press transformed journalism and theology.
Google has done it again.

Imagine the many ways we can continue to share our stories and theology.

I plan to attend "Theology after Google"at Claremont School of Theology on March 10-12 to help spark my own imaginings. Come join the discussion.

While I'm excited to attend and learn, I'm also excited to be leading an "on-ramp" workshop with my friend James Kang to help anyone interested in theology but not so well versed in new media understand the transformation from Gutenberg to Google and beyond.

Here's a bit more info:

Theology After Gutenberg
Fascinated by Theology after Google but not up-to-speed on new media? This on-ramp workshop travels through time and communications culture to quickly introduce basic concepts that will be useful for the rest of the conference and essential to imagining the future. James Kang is lead pastor of the Greenhouse District faith community in Pomona, Calif., and an MDiv. student at Claremont School of Theology. Karen Clark Ristine, a newspaper reporter and editor for more than 20 years, left journalism right before it got Googled up to attend seminary and is now pastor of a century-old neighborhood church in San Diego, Calif., who believes that, sometimes, Facebook is holy.

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