Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Participative Technology and the Ecclesial Revolution - PRESS RELEASE

A few months ago I blogged about the Wikiklesia Project, an online collaborative publication of short works from a range of contributors exploring the ways in which technology is transforming the church. The volume has developed over the last month, with a new title - Voices of the Virtual World: Participative Technology and the Ecclesial Revolution. The e-book will be released on July 23, and downloadable from Lulu.com for $15. Audio files will be available to download for a donation. ALL proceeds are going to the Not For Sale Campaign.

A current list of chapter titles can be found at the Wikiklesia Project's Wikidot site here. All the chapters sound fantastic, but from a research perspective I'm particularly looking forward to reading:

Kester Brewin, Text/Audio/Video: Probing the Dark Glass
Greg Glatz, The Perfect Mix? The Missio Dei in a Free Market Economy
Len Hjalmarson, Text, Sacrament, Leadership and Conversation: Blogging and Communal Formation
Brother Maynard, Hyperlinks Subvert Hierarchy: The Internet, Non-Hierarchical Organizations, and the Structure of the Church
Andrew Perriman, Open Source Theology
Joe Suh, Social Networking and the Long Tail Church
And Len's Afterword, The Myths of Technos and God's Kingdom.

My chapter is entitled Theo(b)logy: The Technological Transformation of Theology, and reflects on the impact of technology on understandings of what theology is, and who does theology. I trace the development from conventional notions of theology as the systematic study of Christian revelation by trained professionals, to Radical Orthodoxy's notion of 'the theological' as the confessional standpoints held by everyone and 'theology' as the critical reflection on these belief systems, regardless of their explicitly religious nature. I argue that technological innovation, particularly blogging and open source software, is facilitating the opening of the theological endeavour to any 'net user, effecting this radical shift towards "theo(b)logy," the Web2.0-assisted, Christianly theological, reflection on any number of subjects. Theology can be and is being done by anyone, and theology has as its subject matter not only the conventional source code of the Christian religion, but subjects as varied as football, beer, environment, Middle East, labyrinth, family, and shopping. I've also recorded an MP3 audio file for download, but I'm worried about it, as I think I've got a boring voice! Our brief said that we could employ a celebrity impersonator, but I don't know any.

The official Press Release is as follows:

Voices of the Virtual World:
Participative Technology and the Ecclesial Revolution

Publication Date: 23 July 2007
Distributed by: Lulu.com
Wikiklesia Press, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-9796856-0-6

Voices of the Virtual World explores the growing influence of technology on the global Christian church. In this premier volume, we hear from more than forty voices, including technologists and theologians, entrepreneurs and pastors… from a progressive Episcopalian techno-monk to a leading Mennonite professor… from a tech-savvy mobile missionary to a corporate anthropologist whom Worth Magazine calls "one of Wall Street's 25 Smartest Players." Voices is a far reaching exploration of spiritual journey contextualized within a culture of increasingly immersive technology.

ABOUT WIKIKLESIA: Conceived and established in May 2007, the Wikiklesia Project is an experiment in on-line collaborative publishing. The format is virtual, self-organizing, participatory - from purpose to publication in just a few weeks. All proceeds from the Wikiklesia Project will be contributed to the Not For Sale campaign.

Wikiklesia values sustainability with minimal structure. We long to see a church saturated with decentralized cooperation. The improbable notion of books that effectively publish themselves is one of many ways that can help move us closer to this global-ecclesial connectedness. Can a publishing organization thrive without centralized leadership? Is perpetual, self-organizing book publishing possible? Can literary quality be maintained in a distributed publishing paradigm? Wikiklesia was created to answer these kinds of questions.

Wikiklesia may be the world’s first self-perpetuating nomadic business model - raising money for charities - giving voice to emerging writers and artists - generating a continuous stream of new books covering all manner of relevant topics. Nobody remains in control. There is no board of directors. The franchise changes hands as quickly as new projects are created.

Media Enquiries: Len Hjalmarson, lenhjal@telus.net. John La Grou, jl@jps.net

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