Here is a message that churches have been slow to accept: the internet is a blessing. The popular blogger Rachel Held Evans explains why:
I used to think I was the only one squirming in the pews of my conservative evangelical church on Sunday mornings, wrestling with questions I dared not ask out loud: Why are women forbidden from assuming leadership? Do I really have to be a Republican to be a Christian? What if I’m tired of the culture wars? What if I want to worship alongside gays and lesbians? Must I interpret every Bible story literally? Am I the only one who doubts now and then?
It was the loneliest hour in my week…until I started blogging.
Now, when I ask these questions out loud, thousands of people respond with two simple, but powerful, words: “me too.”
[T]he Internet is a blessing because it connects people of faith who might otherwise feel alone in their questions and doubts with like-minded individuals interested in reform. It empowers the powerless, provides a platform for good ideas, helps hold leaders accountable, and exposes us to fresh, new perspectives from all around the world.
But it’s also a challenge because, as I’ve learned the hard way, it’s much easier to call for change than it is to make change happen. My generation in particular likes for things to happen immediately, in 140 characters or less, which is not really how lasting, significant reform happens.
Does your parish recognize the importance of online evangelism, community building and pastoral ministry? How about your diocese? As someone who travels around the church talking about communications, it seems to me that in general, we have a long way to go, and that a lack of resources is only part of the problem.