Thursday, November 06, 2008

Relfecting on Christianity online at the Global Christian Internet Alliance

On Monday I will be giving a presentation at the annual meeting of the Global Christian Internet Alliance in the Texas hill country. GCIA describes itself as "an international network of Christian ministries using the Internet to help fulfill the Great Commission". I am looking forward to hearing about Christian online innovation from around the world and especially learn about the latest happenings at GodTube. As part of my presentation--"When Religion Meets New Media"-- I am posting links to some of the most interesting studies I have come across on Christian use of the Internet here in the past 2 years as resources for the conference participants [and anyone else in the blogosphere that might be interested]. I will be highlighting some of these in my presentation summary on "where do we go from here..." on the next wave of religion and internet research.

Heidi Campbell, (2007). Who's got the power? Religious authority and the Internet. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(3), article 14.
This article explores how the internet both powers and challenge online religious authority within Christian (as well as Jewish & Muslim) communities.

Pauline H Cheong, Alexander Halavais, Kyounghee Kwon, (2008). The Chronicles of Me: Understanding Blogging as a Religious Practice. Journal of Media and Religion, Vol. 7, No. 3. (2008), pp. 107-131.
Their content analysis study of 200 blogs with mentions of topics related to Christianity, suggests that blogs provide an integrative experience for the faithful, not a “third place,” but a melding of the personal and the communal, the sacred and the profane.

Nadja Miczek, (2008) Online Rituals in Virtual Worlds. Christian Online Service between Dynamics and Stability. Online – Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet: Vol. 03.1
This article investigates online worship services and interpret them through a framework of ritual theory, to look at issues of religious invention, transformation and exclusion at different stages of ritual action. This is found in a special issue of Online - Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet, entitled Being Virtually Real? Virtual Worlds from a Cultural Studies’ Perspective. Be sure to check out the other interesting articles on Christianity in virtual worlds, namely learn about St Pixels by Jenkins and Church of Fools by Kluver & Chen.

Paul Teusner. (2007). Christianity 2.0 - a new religion for a new web. Paper Presented at Association of Internet Researchers Conference, Vancouver, BC, Oct 2007.
Interesting reflection on interview research with emerging church bloggers, attempting to understand the Christian life via their use of media.

Studies in World Christianity, December 2007, Special Issue: In Search of Online Religion
This entire issues is a diverse and rich collection of a variety of Christian uses of the internet combined with theological reflection on religious innovation online.

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