Questions, both critical and vexing, about the role and impact of technology on our society, and the church, and on Sojourners itself have arisen among our staff and board. They are questions with immediate practical import, but also broader implication. How do we think biblically, theologically, and critically about technology? Is it simply a "a social given" in which we must work?
Given the way GenXers are experienced and wired, is this the medium of choice, or only possible medium, for discipling and movement-building among them? What indeed is the connection between Web/Net technology and social movement? What are the possibilities? the seductions and traps? What is the connection between this technology and market mentality? the connection to globalization and the commodification of human life? Can it create community and commitment or does it eviscerate, virtualize, minimize, and disembody them? How does it create new communities of discourse, bringing marginalized voices to the table, and how does it further widen the gap between the accessed "haves" and "have nots"? Should we be resisting certain technologies? creating alternatives? generating social capital and movement outside their framework?
Sojourners executive editor David Batstone is a professor at the University of San Francisco, founder of Business 2.0 magazine, and is actively engaged at the intersection of technology, business, and ethics. Bill Wylie-Kellermann, a Sojourners contributing editor, is a United Methodist pastor and director of SCUPE (Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education), one of the country's foremost expositors of "powers" theology, and the editor of Keeper of the Word (a compilation of writings by William Stringfellow). The two of them began this conversation at a meeting of the Sojourners board of directors, then continued it via e-mail in the exchanges that follow. -The Editors