Today, a second course in the new Religion and Media initiative with this Seminary, Luther Seminary and Odyssey Networks began, here at the beginning of the intensive and creative J-term.
It features new media specialist Mat Tombers and Senior VP Eric Shafer, and a sampling of the rich network of people they know and work with through Odyssey.
The course has 15 participants, or so, not counting the faculty team, and offers an interesting diversity of backgrounds and traditions. Less than half are Gettysburg Seminary students, and it is always interesting to engage in learing with colleagues from the Washington Theological Consortium. There is a great range of experience, too.
The first day of the course included the sociological demographics of the American religious scene, which posed great challenges for mainstream Christian groups. Scott Thumma's research revealed that congregations and ministries taking a creative risk tend to show some potential for growth, although it is unclear what this contemporary creativity looks like. That may become clearer as the week goes, but it is clear to me now that the use of social media and other creative resources only works if you have something important to say. So the take away is, I believe, be driven by substance, ideas and the content of the Gospel.
For me, this is a continuing education week in a robust media learning environment. #mediameetsreligion is the hash tag.