Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hail Mary...full of digital grace.

During a recent lenten retreat I learned how to make a set of prayer beads. As I was admiring my creation tonight I wondered whether or not the rosary had yet gone digital. Thanks to google I learned that my suspicions were indeed correct and several versions of the rosary can be found online.

For instance at the Philip Neri Newman Center web with the click of the mouse you are able move your way around the visual image of the rosary and corresponding prayers. If you want a flash version complete with Monks singing in Latin try the online rosary at The Fatima Network online.

For the spirtually mobile you might want to consider spending $29.95 to on the vista rosary, a hand held electronic hand held device that allows you to say the rosary without the hassle of carrying around a string of beads. Or check out this digital rosary liscenced by WIPO. And there are even tongue-n-cheek versions, like the one found at Instant Absolution online.

It seems these days almost every traditional religious artifact can be found re-imagined online in some form or fashion...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

That's Marshal...Marshall McLuhan

A colleague sent me this link this morning. So for those Marshall McLuhan fans out there, check out this ballad!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Coming soon...Internet Evangelism Day!

Q: Do you know what April 29th is?
A: It's Internet Evangelism Day!

"E-vangelism" has been a growing trend in religious online culture sine the late 199os. Generally speaking, the aim of "e-vangelism" is the presentation of a purposeful religious presence online, whether it be organizations creating web sites to inform people about their faith and religious community, or individuals visiting chat rooms or joining an e-mail list with intention of trying to make converts.

In my current research in this are I came across the Internet Evangelism Coalition (ICE) and one of their projects is to sponsor “Internet Evangelism Day” to “communicate the outreach potential of the Web to the worldwide church". Each year they encouraging bible schools, churches and Christian organization to take time to focus on trainings about the nature and potential of the Web or discussions about web evangelism. I find this a fascinating example of para-church collaboration for the purpose of embracing technology for religious witness!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Down with the God Tube

First there was God Casting and now there is God Tube! From Sermons, to clips from Christian videos to even Christian ads. I even found a few ads that combine tongue-in-check commedy with the intersection religion and new technology. Click on the picture above to see one of my favourites, a paradoy of the Mac vs. PC ads and an interesting message about Christian Music. If you liked this one, check out the one below as well, featuring the HSHD (Holy Spirit Hard Drive). [And thanks to my friend Matt, postmodern pilgrim in Oxford, whose blog initally pointed me to this site.]

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

CFP: Media, Religion, and Politics in the Age of Globalization

This call for papers might be of interest to researchers of religion and new media...

The American Edition of Global Media Journal invites the submission of essays and research reports that focus on the intersections across media, religion, and politics in the context of globalization for the fall 2007 issue. The guest editors, Debra Merskin and Karin Gwinn Wilkins, are particularly interested in critical work that considers the way religious and political groups engage global media systems in order to advocate particular perspectives. Global media refer to transnational, regional, and global media systems. Articles might address, but not be limited to, such topics as:

- the participation of religious and/or political leaders in the production of global media
- advocacy efforts of religious and/or political leaders and agencies to influence the content of global media
- ideological positions relating to religious and political perspectives evidenced in global media
- how religious and/or political groups interpret and engage global media
- intersections across religious and political groups in reference to media production and distribution

This special issue will include a Graduate Research Section. Authors should be sure to indicate current student status if to be considered in this section.

All papers must be submitted as Microsoft Word attachments no later than July 15, 2007. For submission guidelines, please go to: All papers MUST follow the APA style manual and must include: (a) Author's address and contact information, (b) a brief abstract--less than 200 words, (c) five to ten keywords which reflect the contents for the paper, and (d) a brief biography of the author--less than 50 words. Articles that do not follow appropriate submission guidelines will not be considered.

Please direct inquiries regarding this special issue to Karin Gwinn Wilkins, University of Texas at Austin, Inquiries pertaining to the graduate research section should be directed to Debra Merskin, University of Oregon,

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Exploring Religion and the Sacred in a Media Age

I am sitting in St Catherine's College in Oxford at the end of a 3 wonderful day conference called Exploring Religion and the Sacred in a Media Age which brought together sociologist, theologians and media scholars from the UK, Europe and the USA to discuss a variety of topics on the intersection of religion, media and culture. The papers ranged from religion in club culture and the spirituality of Harry Potter to studies of Muslim Identities in Europe and Religious Media in Turkey.

There were several conference highlights for me. Lynn Schofield Clark, author of From Angles to Aliens, gave a great keynote address on Religious Branding, highlighting the rise of Fashion Bibles like Revolve and Muslim Hip Hop artists such as Native Deen as examples of the growing trend towards religious lifestyle branding making faith both more accessible and marketable to wider audiences. Tom Beaudoin, author of Virtual Faith, made an through provoking plea to use fandom studies as a basis for academics to become more self-reflexive in their study of popular culture and made interesting observations of how the act of spiritual direction provides a model for critical guided reflection on religion and media.

My favourite paper session--besides my own of course, where I think Pete Ward and I did a fine job of talking about spirituality and youth and specifically what youth led prayer meetings have to teach us about Evangelical Identity construction--was today's session on religion and the internet (no surprise there, eh!) PhD student Tim Hutchins from Durham University did a great job providing insights into institutional born cyberchurces such as i-Church and the Church of Fools, as did Katharine Moody from Lancaster University introducing her research on theo(b)logy and the Emerging Church (and citing my now good friend Mr. tallskinnykiwi) . Both demonstrated in how the field of religion and internet studies is maturing through exhibiting a developed knowledge of the field and well thought out methodologies. I think these will be 2 young scholars worth watching as their research projects mature.