Celebrating 1,500 Posts

This is my 1,500th blog post here at So What Faith, which offers an appropriate  reason to to reflect.  As I do so, I want to thank my readers.  While you come from all over the world, the vast majority reside in the United States. Most Visits Originate  Florida California Texas New York Illinois After nearly 5 1/2 years of writing, I recognize just how unpredictable popularity can be.  In fact only a few of the posts I would have guessed would be among my most popular all time Read More …

Growth of Social Networking

In early 2005 less than 10% of American adult internet users participated in social networking.  By late 2013 the number had risen to 72%.  These statistics and the chart at right come from Pew Research survey data. So What? A few key matters stand out to me as I review this data: the younger the internet user the higher the likelihood of participating in social networking, roughly half of those aged 65+ now use social networks, and ten years ago the usage rates were so low Pew Read More …

Churches & Social Media

Meredith Gould is the author of The Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways, which I named as one of my top books of 2013.  On a more personal level, I have benefited from her wisdom as a communications consultant and as the founder and frequent host of #chsocm. As the World Cup has progressed, I have been involved in more conversations about social media than usual.  Interestingly, this has even carried over into church life and conversation.  During this time I stumbled upon Read More …

Required Digital Detox

In the Spring 2014 edition of Facts in Trends Marty Duren, manager of social media strategies for LifeWay, suggests that everyone needs to engage in a digital detox.  According to Duren, a digital detox involves completely abstaining from "everything online for a period of time" (p.45). While stopping short of prescribing the interval at which detoxes are required or the duration he recommends, Duren clearly believes that everyone who participates in the online world needs to take time for Read More …

From Hallelujah to 20M Views

Pope Francis' warmth and authenticity are among the reasons I am attracted to him.  As I listened to a recent viral video (over 20 million views in the first week) of a parish priest singing words no one expects to hear at a Catholic wedding, I found that I was drawn in by his warmth and authenticity. So What? There are many desirable attributes religious leaders may possess.  Which characteristics would you place atop your list for a minister/pastor/priest? Read More …

What I Really Do

James McGrath, an associate professor in the Religion and Philosophy department at Butler University, recently shared his contribution to the meme "What I Really Do."  He later, after receiving input from readers, added a second image that intentionally differed from the first with regard to the inclusion of women. Since the first image is what captured my attention, and since that is largely the goal of a good meme, I will repost it below. So What? One of the many roles I have in life Read More …

#SundayWisdom

The CANA Initiative (Convening, Advocating, Networking, Acting) is a collective of faith-engaged people and entities (Roman Catholic, Evangelical, Mainline Protestant, Orthodox, and other Christians who believe the future for Christian life and mission will be different in many ways from the past and present), that brings together diverse and innovative leaders to collaborate in the development of new ways of being Christian.  During Lent, Diana Butler Bass – a CANA initiator and the author of Read More …

The Age of the Selfie

Galen Guengerich, senior minister of All Souls Unitarian Church (New York City, NY) and of author of God Revised  (one of my top books of 2013), recently wrote about the "selfie culture" on the occasion of the Oxford Dictionary adding this word to their 2013 edition.  Selfies are pictures people take of themselves then share via social media.  They are doing far more than merely cluttering social media feeds.  Guengerich writes: This moment in dictionary history may also represent the Read More …

Why Facebook?

According to a recent Pew Research survey, men and women share many "major reasons" for using Facebook.  The top reason women use Facebook is to see photos/videos whereas the top reason men use Facebook is that it allows them to share with many people at once. So What? Whether you are a relative newcomer to Facebook or have been a part of this social community for many years, it is likely your own major reasons for using it have evolved over time.  While some of the change may have come Read More …

Online Church Shopping

David Odom, Executive Director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School, recently blogged about the increasing tendency of shoppers, including church shoppers, to shop online.  When it comes to those who are looking for a church, Odom notes that they "frequently visit the congregation online by watching services, reading about services and asking questions."  This activity is a part of the screening process many now use in making a decision about whether or not to attend services or Read More …