Workshop: MaryAnn McKibben Dana
Yesterday, MaryAnn McKibben Dana, assistant professor of homiletics and worship at Pittsburg Theological Seminary, offered a workshop titled, "The Word in a 140-Character World: Faithful Preaching in the Digital Age." She explored both the benefits and drawbacks of technology in our day, especially as it relates to the church and our communities of faith.
Early on she posed the question: "Are we lifting up community that forms online?" We will always need tangible, in-person community, but community formed online can be just as important. She called us to be intentional and thoughtful about when we plug in, when we engage online; there are many people who report struggling with the temptation to spend too much time online, so it is something we need to monitor in our own lives. We need to ask ourselves: "How does digital culture change the way we live, the way we engage?"
She also called attention to benefits of technology, and the need to see God at work through it. It is much easier to dismiss all technology as unhelpful; but when we recognize that God may work through it, this demands a response on our part. How can we embrace how God is at work here? While technology is not going to solve all of our problems for us, it has great capacity and potential to bring us together. We have to learn to use technology effectively and fluently for the sake of community.