The Christian Web Conference: Incarnating Digital Relationships

Last weekend’s Christian Web Conference put flesh on the disembodied personas of several well-known online Christians.  While internet technologies continue to help people form increasingly complex relationships online, nothing has yet replaced the richly unique dynamic of face-to-face meetings – that’s why conferences like CWC are so useful.

This year’s conference, an expanded version of GodBlogCon, added to the previous years’ conversations about faith and blogging while successfully expanding the discussion to include other online presences like facebook and twitter.  Conference speaker Mark Roberts commented,

I was impressed by the maturing of Web-based ministries. When we first got together at GodBlogCon, most of us were just beginning to explore the power of the Internet. Now, many of the participants and leaders at the CWC are wise and sophisticated users of the Internet. The original euphoria about the power of blogging and the Web is mostly gone, replaced by a more grown up perspective on its benefits and detriments.

The line-up of speakers was as impressive and diverse as the topics they spoke on.  Attendees learned, for example, how to “Tweet the Truth in Love” from Tim Challies, how satire can change the way we talk about faith online from Stuff Christians Like author Jon Acuff, how best to collaborate and connect with people on twitter from Rhett Smith,  and how to choose the best medium for your message from our own Joe CarterMel McGowan, Visioneering Studios President and former Disney architect, spoke about theology of place and the marriage of the old archetypes of the garden and the city in his eye-opening walking tour of Downtown Disney.

The conference culminated in a rousing discussion of the topic that underpinned conversations the entire weekend; namely, what is the proper place of the church online?  Can real communion with the Body of Christ be had via the internet?  There were opinions and experiences from all sides of the issue, resulting in several thought-provoking conversations both offline and online – see, for example, Charles T. Lee’s post arguing that one may be really present without being physically present.  Unfortunately, Andrew Jones was unable to attend the scheduled debate about online church; however, our own Matt Anderson did a great job explaining some of the pros and cons of the practice, arguing that advocates of church online utilize a problematic theology of place – at least in America.

It’s not too early to start planning to attend next year’s Christian Web Conference; while it’s all well and good for us to interact with you online through the Evangelical Outpost, we’d rather sit down with you face-to-face and have a conversation. ‘

GodblogCon: Reflections Upon Saying Goodbye

Three years ago, I was asked by Matt Anderson, then the coordinator of GodblogCon, to help him as his assistant. At the time, I knew very little about blogs except that I had one and it was nothing to write home about. However, I understood that people wiser than myself saw great value in the work being done by bloggers I was willing to help in whatever way I could. Quickly, I learned what all of the buzz was about and I became convinced that bloggers were doing important work.
To date, I have dedicated three years of my life to coordinating GodblogCon. It has been an interesting journey and I have learned a great many things along the way. So it was with a degree of sadness that I announced this past weekend that GodblogCon was to be terminated upon the conclusion of this year’s conference. However, saddened as I am about the termination of GodblogCon and all that it has meant to me and others over these past three to four years, my spirit is high at the prospect of the next conference which we hope to grow from the fertile land tilled by GodblogCon. Since Joe was an important part of GodblogCon and since he often shared his reflections about the conference with you all, I thought it would be fitting that I should do likewise.

Continue reading GodblogCon: Reflections Upon Saying Goodbye