Illustration by Popstck
Slate has an interesting piece exploring the history of sermons and religious messages delivered unconventionally, from the radio in 1921, to the modern internet.
In Pittsburgh, the magazine reported, Calvary Episcopal Church was broadcasting a full church service every Sunday. “Think what this means to many people: the invalid, unable to go to church can enjoy its benefits without leaving his bed or wheel chair; the farmer, too far from town to go to church has the service brought to him; and the sick in the hospital are encouraged to get well by the wonderful words of the preacher,” the reporter gushed. “One can almost imagine being in church.”
The Slate story doesn’t cover many Episcopal podcasts, but there are other resources exclusively for members of the Anglican Communion; Anglicans Online has a round-up of internet resources; the presentation is a bit dated, but still useful if you’re looking for worship and other services online. The Episcopal Church also maintains a list of selected web radio shows and websites offering Episcopalian podcasts.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a single resource listing the Episcopalian podcasts on iTunes, but you can find dozens searching the site.
Father Matthews, Associate Rector at St. Bart’s in New York City, uses Youtube to provide education on Episcopal traditions and rites, and also to engage and connect Christianity with popular culture; his theological review of Kanye West’s album, Yeezus, stands out as an excellent example.
The article in Slate notes the concerns of some Christians that podcasts and YouTube videos may replace church attendance. The internet is a self-selected experience, and it can also help us to ignore the difficulties of struggling with our faiths and our communities. Slate spoke to Trevin Wax, author of a popular blog post about podcasts and religion, as part of their article.
“I don’t believe podcasts can or should be considered a replacement for worship gatherings,” Wax said recently by email. “Thinking a podcast can substitute for a worship gathering means we’ve adopted an overly cognitive approach to church—as if the sole purpose of worship is to download the information in a pastor’s sermon into my brain.”
Wax, managing editor of the Gospel Project, wrote “Your Podcast Is Not Your Pastor” in 2011; it’s an interesting read, especially in light of continued low attendance rates and the challenges churches face in maintaining their physical locations.
Twitter is another popular medium for Episcopalians; The Kernel has an article featuring daily Episcopal prayers from the Twitter handle @IAmEpiscopalian.
From The Kernel:
I don’t remember when I first found the Episcopal Church’s account, but I do remember how quickly these nightly tweets became part of my prayer life. In between news stories, personal ramblings, hashtag games, television commentary, and whatever sponsored corporate content Twitter has thrown into my feed, there is that little prayer. I rarely retweet it, and I only sometimes favorite it, but I often go to Twitter just to read it.
Do you have any favorite online resources, YouTube or podcasts, that you’d like to share with the Episcopal community? Are there things you think the web is more suited to than a weekly service, or sermons that work better with a little production?
Posted by David Streever