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The Logic of Online Community

When trying to make sense of the changes that new media have brought to us, we can use either supplementary or substitutionary logic. With supplementary logic, Facebook et al. extend the range of our embodied relationships; with substitutionary logic, social media replace them. Those who want to use social media to enhance their churches' outreach implicitly use supplementary logic. Those who want to worship online and don't want to change out of their pajamas or meet other people in their messy particularity ... well, you get the idea.

A recent trip to New York City for a first meeting of the New Media Project Research Fellows reminded me of the superiority of supplementary to substitutionary logic. This happened because the neighborhood around Union Theological Seminary is so deliciously, specifically, embodiedly particular. Union itself is a marvel: its gothic architecture makes it unmistakable that this is a place with history. Niebuhr taught here; Bonhoeffer smoked and worried and decided to go home here; James Cone and Christopher Morse teach here; Serene Jones leads here. The neighborhood extends this particularity; the Jewish Theological Seminary, down Seminary Row, has a glorious crest above its door: "And the bush was not consumed." A tunnel under Union leads you to the grandeur of Riverside Church, where Fosdick and Forbes thundered. Go a few blocks south and east, and you're at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the largest interior church space in North America. The morning I visited, the light shone blue through the rose window, filling the clerestory with incandescent beauty. The chapel at Columbia University, with its stained glass above the altar depicting St. Paul preaching on Mars Hill, is a perfect image for situated Christian truth vis-à-vis the gods on campuses and in Manhattan.

Can Mindfulness Be Tweeted?

I attended a basketball game this winter at the University of Maryland, accompanied by an intern at my workplace, a man in his twenties. For much of the game, we chatted about everything from politics to how North Carolina is far superior to Duke in all the ways that really matter (on the court, of course). During the conversation, between glances at the game, my colleague maintained steady eye contact … with his smart phone.

Friday Links Round Up: School Lunch. Commencement. Women.

Here’s a little round up of links from around the Web you may have missed this week:

The Best of Tools, and the Worst

THE EGYPTIAN revolution started on Facebook. True. The Iranians who took to the streets last year to try to overturn a fraudulent election used Twitter to coordinate their actions and to communicate with the outside world. Also true.

Danny Duncan Collum, a Sojourners contributing writer, teaches writing at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. He is the author of the novel White Boy.

Friday Links Round Up: The One Percent. Dear Fork. Budget Cuts.

The One Percent. Dear Fork. Budget Cuts. Here's a little round up of links from around the Web you may have missed this week:

  • Dear Fork, You have a son.
  • Let's thank our members of Congress for joining the hunger fast for a moral budget. (Call your member and ask them to join.)
  • Stay updated on the latest news from the hunger fast for a moral budget.
  • Watch this CNN report on the hunger fast for a moral budget.

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