This Friday, June 3, at 2-3:30pm Central Time, a group of bloggers from Daily Theology and Catholic Moral Theology will host a panel discussion at the Annual Meeting of the College Theology Society at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO. Whether or not you are able to join us in person, we invite you to join us on Twitter with the hashtag #BloggingCTS and follow along or ask questions to the panelists! Or, if you prefer, simply comment on this post or on one of the four other posts that have delved into questions about Catholic theology and blogging ahead of the panel discussion:
In “Troll Lege and the Virtue of Online Mercy,” Stephen Okey critiques the trolls of internet infamy and asks what a truly merciful blogging community would look like: “If we can habituate ourselves to merciful blogging, merciful tweeting, and other forms of merciful engagement, perhaps the “first Areopagus of the modern age” can become a place of light, of community, and of charity.”
In “Scattered on the Hillside: Some Thoughts on Discipleship, Community, and Blogging,” Katherine Greiner lauds the communal and beneficial aspects that blogging can offer, while cautioning that these benefits can only be sustained by following Christ’s example of love and mercy online: “My experience writing for and reading Daily Theology has taught me that blogs and social networking, podcasts and online forums, communities, and scholarship can provide avenues that help us nourish and be nourished. And as with any form of ministry, the fruits of our labor will be judged on how faithful we are to Jesus’ command to serve one another with love and mercy.”
In “Controlling the Evolving Catholic Blogosphere?” over at Catholic Moral Theology, David Cloutier laments the hang-wringing over the sometimes-vile nature of the blogosphere that exacerbates the problems, and proposes three questions of his own to the Catholic blogging community: “Why not ask all Catholic bloggers to acknowledge guidelines for charity and civility in their conversation?”, “What is the role of groups in blogging?”, and “Who gets to blog?”
Also over at CMT, Jana Bennett asks “Why Bother Writing Theology Online?” In honor of CMT’s five years of blogging, she posits five benefits/pitfalls of theological blogging for further reflection: creating and sustaining friendships, which can sometimes lead to too little face-time; writing public theology, which can sometimes lead to being TOO public and hyper-criticized; the benefit and struggle between blogging and academia; the pros and cons of living in an internet “bubble” of conversation–intense conservations but limited visibility to more diverse opinions and persons; and, finally, how to inhabit the virtues of Christian life in an online world. “Sometimes pieces are so prayer-provoking (Syria) that the writing or reading becomes an indelible part of my prayer,” Bennett writes, “Sometimes a piece calls me to acts of mercy and charity….Of course, it is entirely possible to be habituated to vices as well, and there is no shortage of those on the internet- including questions about pornography and technology itself.”
In addition to this wonderful reflections, I would like to add a related question of my own: How do we, as bloggers, balance our duty as theologians to provide a critical Christian voice with our responsibility as Christians to provide a message of mercy, hope, and love? Should and can this balance be implemented in a specific, practical way, or is it something that can only be produced organically?
We welcome your input! What questions do you want answered or asked? Tweet at #BloggingCTS or comment on this post to join the conversation!