Theological Community, EcoTheology, The Church, The World, The Blogosphere

“Discarded intellectual” part 2 “Theologians of Networked Community” #WiredChurch

September 05, 2012 By: Theoblogical Category: Theoblogical

Another “Discarded intellectual” group that is sorely needed by the church,  is the “theologian of network technology”.  It is kept from playing a significant  role largely because the church organizations have followed the market tendencies in technology to the exclusion of sound theological discernment about how to let the “Social” actually BE social.  It has much to do with theological study and defining who we are in a way that makes the network such a potentially powerful tool for enabling the church to significantly extend itself into some powerfully creative spiritual habitat.

The “new toy” syndrome has stricken the church.  The  new social apps and services have been populated by church folks and organizations,  but the  organizations seem to be unable see any possibilities beyond a means to drive people to their website.  That’s where the “content” is, after all.  Twitter can’t hold much in a post,  so it’s for linking and “PR” to get people to where they can READ our content.  It’s right back into using new media to contain old media content.  Yes,  websites are old media now, to the extent that they carry forward a magazine, print-based communication (“Print-based” in that it  is  “the content written by us and published to you”.  It’s still the old top -down, one way flow.)

Twitter (and Facebook,  and  other “expressive” posts/updates like Google Plus)  are facing an audience that “follows” or friends us because people want to hear about events or expeiriences we tend to share about,  or inform their followers/friends (tweeps or peeps) about things that we find interesting or important.   Journalists follow a lot of other journalists and news  people, technologists follow people who write and comment on technology, sports, economics,  etc.

The most interesting people or  organizations I follow are the ones who post about what I find interesting.  These things are most often things OTHER than their own writings, or announcements from  their own organizations.  The Twitter accounts I find moost useful are those which DONT use Twitter or other Social Media platforms for PR and self-promotion,  and instead provide a somewhat steady stream of links to useful and interesting things.  Chris Brogan suggests a rule of thumb for Twitter:  Post 9 things about something NOT you for every thing ABOUT YOU.

As one interested in technology, politics, sports, and theology/church,  I have a wide variety of things about which I can post,  aside from posts about something I may be  doing or seeing,  some place where I am that I feel like revealing,  or some post I just made on my blog.  And I get several followers from groups of people interested in technology, politics, sports, and theology/church.

I tend to  follow  theological tweeters who I have discovered via a link attached to an article they have written (to which I have been directed by another tweeter),  or via a tweet that has been retweeted by someone I follow.  I click into the Tweet stream of the  one retweeted to see if they tweet other things I would find interesting.  I often end  up following people this way.  This tends  to grow the list I follow exponentially,  since the newly followed “RT” others they find interesting,  which often interest me as well.  It is a peer-based recommendation engine.

The PR approach detaches itself from the utility of this approach.  I guess  one could say it’s PEER over PR.  It harnesses one  of the many beneficial fruits of the network.  It is SOCIAL,  not commercial or marketing (except in the  sense of “social marketing”:  an exposure to the “market” of individuals in particular twitter streams.  It’s an exchange of recommendations,  much like what RSS subscription feeds used to be for me.  I even subscribe to RSS feeds of Twitter streams,  and use  them on my blog.

Someone like me,  who has been immersed in this online networking before there was a Web with much to find on it,  who became intrerested in networking technology BECAUSE of the church and my desire to extend myself into a wider net of  people (mostly in order to explore that very subject with the then few people who were also exploring),  is an example of  someone whose seminary training has culminated in an immersion in technology issues in the church,  specifically in that of online community.

It was Howard Rheingold’s 1993 Virtual Community that was the first printed  work which delved deeply into this topic.  Almost 10 years later,  Rheingold published Smart  Mobs,  which again delved into the online community as it has once again shifted due to mobile technology.  This year,  after another ten years,  he  has published Net Smart: How to Thrive  Online,  which delves deeper still into the world of how our brains and emotions and social experience of community is being slowly “evolved” into something that impacts  our very experience of both that space and that community which we seek.

I see virtually NOONE in church organizations paying  any significant attention to these things,  and yet  it seems to me that it SHOULD be a crucial piece to be studied by such ministries as Clinical Pastoral Education,  since  this impacts in a significant way the kind of people and the shifting psyches with which pastoral ministry  is involved.  And ultimately,  all pastors  and people who seek to minister to other church members (and in mission/outreach to those outside  the church),  this is a crucial area in which to gain understanding,  given the ubiquity of our technology ,  which seems will only increase as time goes by.

I should expect to see things like “Psychology of the Networked Mind”  (or the “Sociology or Social Psychology” of such) in the social and mind sciences in the future.  And if there are cautionary notes to be explored,  we who are called to be a community that seeks wholeness for ourselves and our communities would seem to want to explore these things along with all the other social and spiritual issues we explore as a theological community.

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Movable Type 4 broken AGAIN!

April 23, 2008 By: Theoblogical Category: Theoblogical

I haven’t been able to get MT to work since I left it for WordPress 2 years ago.  I’ve been continuing to upgrade and try the installs with all my old posts that I had when I left it.  MT 4.1 started working for a few days,  but now all of a sudden when I try to publish anything…posts, templates,  anything,.  I get an error box that says “An error occurred,  with a red exclamation point,  but no description of the error.  The area next to the red exclamation point is blank.  What the heck?  This is horrible.  I was trying a solution for remapping the post URLs from my old archives/00001.html   to the new archives/post-title-like-this.html.  But when I tried uploading the template,  I got the dumb useless error.

The logs don’t tell me what the error was either. 

Movable Type Lab

April 19, 2008 By: Theoblogical Category: Theoblogical

I have ,  ever since porting my blog over to WordPress,  been playing with the subsequent versions of Movable Type.  Version 4.1 seems to have fixed a lot of things,  but I cannot figure out how to get my archive links fixed.  The system knows all of the correct links internally for the sidebars and permalinks and archive or index pages,  but the posts which link to to other internal posts all still have the “OLD” version archive link (this format:  For the sake of my external links (like from my present WordPress blog,  which has all those links to old MT posts,  I want to change back to the old style. I keep finding things about going and changing the link format under some preference,  but I have searched in vain to find the place in MT4 where this can be done.  

(Update: found the place at mt.cgi?__mode=view&_type=template&id=284&blog_id=1,  but amusure of what the format should be to replace yyyy/mm/entry-basename.html. the url above to 00476.html is changed in my present set up to /archives/2006/03/the-struggle.html )


Anybody help?

Open namespaces for tags

October 14, 2007 By: Theoblogical Category: Uncategorized

In the comments on a post from JOHO (David Weinberger),  this caught my eye.  I have been devoting myself to figuring out, once and for all,  what the best way to “fix” my WordPress blog for tagging will be. 

Not sure if your readers know that they can also scope a tag search on Technorati to just list posts from a specific blog that are tagged with specific tag.

To view posts tagged “technorati” from David Sifry’s blog,, you just need to do:

Note the use of the ?

Joho the Blog: Open namespaces for tags

Rolling Archives Only For Whole Blog

October 12, 2007 By: Theoblogical Category: Uncategorized

I was noticing the ajaxian rolling archive action and the scrollbar, and admiring it and planning on looking into how it works so I can re-use it, and I noticed it doesn’t work if you click on a category sidebar link and then click "older". It loses the category filter and reverts back to the whole blog rolling archive.

I am googling this problem. I expect I need to find a special category archive page that also uses the rolling archives functions. It would have to continue to pass a cat=xx parameter so that the previous page would be the page of posts from the same original recordset, instead of passing in the whole blog dataset.

If anybody reading is a PHP/Wordpress geek of sorts and have any ideas on this, I’d be highly appreciative.

(Update:  I did notice that tags are handled in the rolling archives.  Does this mean that WordPress is forsaking the Category in favor of tags?  They aren’t quite the same thing, are they?  I did a Convert Categories to Tags thing in the WP admin,  but it REMOVES the category,  which I’m not sure I like. There are several articles out there on the subject)