Friday, October 28, 2011

Creating an Identity
After having been raised in a church setting all my life, I still to this day struggle to define my own identity in my faith. I know the beliefs, rituals, and social norms associated with my church but for me, it is finding an avenue to express my opinions outside the church curriculum that keep me from feeling complete. What do other Christians think about politics? What do they think about the environment? Are we all supposed to be on the same page involving outside interests? For some of these questions I might have never known if it weren’t for online resources such as blogs and chat forums that allow you to take conversation outside of the church. Such blogs, such as, allow people discuss politics involving religion, which are often times pushed aside, in order to successfully complete their individual church curriculum. There are also other blogs, not primarily based on religion, but created by someone with religious ideals, where people can gather and express their opinions outside of the church. These online resources have helped me strengthen my religious identity. I have used them as an outlet to overcome geographical boundaries as well as time constraints.

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Excuse me...I have a question?"

Have you ever walked out of a church feeling like there was something you wish you had said? Maybe it was your first time visiting, and so you decided to withhold. Or maybe you were worried that your question might not be in congruence with popular opinion. There are a number of reasons why people choose not to speak up at church services, whether it be intimidation, hierarchy, or simple lack of knowledge. It is for this very reason that churches have created online resources that allow people to continue unfinished dialogue. Religious affiliated websites allow people to interact through streamed sermons, chat, and blogging. This open space of dialogue gives members and non-members alike, the opportunity to learn more about a religion and the people involved. Through discourse and interaction, people form relationships that might not have been possible in an offline setting and it is through blogs that religious affiliations, such as St. Pixels (an online blogging forum), create community. Consistent dialogue is a key component to this process. In an offline setting, we reach out to people around us on a day to day basis in order to form meaningful relationships. It is no different with online communities. It becomes a social obligation to “keep up”, in order to become a productive member of society online.