Suggestions for Social Media Sanity

In case you haven’t heard, social media has garnered quite the reputation. Whether you’re talking about the perniciousness of Twitter-fueled outrage, the placidity of hashtag activism, the propensity to waste hours of your life, the easy propagation of fake news, or the paucity of meaningful conversation, social media is often viewed negatively.

But social media isn’t all bad. Or, at least, it doesn’t have to be. In its best moments, social media still accomplishes its purpose quite well: connecting people in ways that were unthinkable just decades ago. For example, social media helps my family stay in touch with one another, even though we’re spread across four states, three time zones, and some 6,250 miles of distance. The immediacy and accessibility of social media platforms lets us communicate with one another in close to real time, helping us remain close.

Of course, not every use of social media leaves us with warm fuzzies. Undoubtedly, everyone reading this can recall at least one time when they’ve considered deactivating or otherwise no longer using a particular platform or application. My suggestion is this: establishing a few good social media habits can help us stay sane and lead to generally positive social media interactions.1 Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: A Way Forward

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

Conciliar PostIn this series, I have drawn upon the ecumenical website Conciliar Post in order to examine how Orthodox and Catholic Christians dialogue in an online environment. Through this overview, I have argued for three basic approaches to dialogue: Cooperation against common opponents, Reinforcement of disagreements, and Coordination seeking unity. While cooperation and reinforcement must (to some extent) exist in a divided church, intentional Orthodox-Catholic coordination appears to be best way forward toward meaningful Christian dialogue and unity. Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: Coordination

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

bigstock-dialogue-between-man-and-woman-25597598The third category of dialogue between Orthodox and Catholic writers at Conciliar Post involves what I call “coordination seeking unity.” These types of interaction consist of Orthodox and Catholic voices not only agreeing accidentally or for the sake of defeating a common opponent, but also instances where agreements are sought for the sake of broad Christian unity. In contrast to cooperative approaches where arguments are presented from the Catholic or Orthodox perspective alone, coordinated approaches argue from positions of broad Christian faith (casting the Church as whole) or the perspectives of Orthodoxy and Catholicism together. Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: Reinforcement

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

thA second way in which Orthodox and Catholic writers at Conciliar Post dialogue with one another is through what I call “reinforcement,” namely, a reinforcement of disagreements. In these instances, after a) recognition of historical Orthodox-Catholic differences coming into play or b) a time of attempting to reconcile potentially non-synchronous positions, Orthodox and Catholic writers agree to disagree and effectively break off dialogue on whatever issue causes the disagreement at hand. Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: Cooperation

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

shutterstock_91130885First, there is Orthodox-Catholic cooperation, especially cooperation against common theological opponents. Depending on the topic, these opponents can range from secular perspectives to Protestants or from those who disregard church history to those denigrating the liturgy. When discussing such topics, Orthodox and Roman Catholic writers “go to bat” for their fellow writers, offering Catholic or Orthodox arguments in defense of each other’s positions. Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: Introductory Period

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

dialogueOrthodox-Catholic dialogue on Conciliar Post typically begins with a short introductory period. During this time, new writers introduce themselves to the site, get to know their fellow writers, and (occasionally) produce “foundational articles,” explanations of where they come from and how they hope to contribute to Conciliar Post’s dialogue. Additionally, this early period of interaction often includes a basic recognition of similarities and differences among writers, which often comes in the form of short, basic affirmations of a post or, conversely, an attempt to charitably question another’s position or meaning. An excellent example of how new Catholic and Orthodox writers work through this introductory period comes in the writing of a Roman Catholic whom I have named Frigus (note: names here and throughout the rest of this presentation are pseudonymous). Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: Background

This post is part of an ongoing series reflecting on Orthodox-Catholic online dialogue, originally delivered at the “That They May Be One” Conference.

Conciliar PostTwo years ago, Benjamin Cabe, a friend and former classmate, approached me about launching a website. Both us were active academic bloggers and were regularly discouraged by the poor understanding and lack of meaningful dialogue cultivated online through 140-character Twitter interaction, sound-bite news, #hashtagactivism, and rhetoric-oriented theology. The website we envisioned would be fashioned from Christians reflecting on important theological and cultural issues in an informed, faithful, and civil manner. Instead of listening in order to respond to one another, our writers would be committed to listening in order to understand before carrying on conversations or pushing back in disagreement. Thus was born Conciliar Post, a “collection of theological conversations, journeys of faith, reflections on Christianity, and commentary on current events from a Christian perspective” which “promotes edifying dialogue that informs, encourages, and challenges people around the world.”[1] Authors at Conciliar Post hail from across Christian traditions and throughout the United States, and write a wide range of topics and issues. Continue reading

Blogging Ecumenically: Introduction

Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras IThis past Saturday, I attended a conference titled “That They May Be One: The Past, Present, and Future of Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue” hosted by Saint Louis University and the St. Irenaeus Orthodox Theological Institute. In addition to hearing some excellent papers and meeting some quality people, I also had the opportunity to deliver a paper of my own, titled “Blogging Ecumenically: The Present and Future of Online Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue”, derived by my experiences as Managing Editor at Conciliar Post. Over the next week and a half, I’ll be sharing portions of this paper here. Although written about Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, I believe the general principles of this paper are applicable to Protestants as well. Below is the introduction to my paper: Continue reading

New Testament/Early Christianity Timeline

One of my academic projects includes working toward a historical G.U.T. (Grand Unified Theory) of the early history of Christianity. This type of project is by no means a new endeavor, though this doesn’t stop me from pouring over timelines and historical reconstructions to appropriate information for my own work.

As a starting point for this work, I’ve crafted two timelines of early Christianity: one reflecting the Scholarly “Consensus” (recognizing the difficulty of using that term) and one reflecting an alternative chronology. Continue reading