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Virtual Space, Real Religion: Using the Internet for Adult Faith Formation

TitleVirtual Space, Real Religion: Using the Internet for Adult Faith Formation
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsMiyamoto, T
Date PublishedApril 2007
UniversitySeton Hall University
CitySouth Orange, New Jersey

At the Church of St. Clare, we have embraced information technology across many ministries, and have several years of experience in using web pages and email. In 2003 we began a major effort to plan and implement a culture of Adult Faith Formation, which has opened up new challenges and fresh ideas. Chapter 1 describes the parish and some of the questions related to technology use as we look at the possibilities that the Web 2.0 provides us as parish ministers. Before making technology decisions, we have to understand how adults grow in faith. Chapter 2 summarizes some recent work in that area. Chapter 3 addresses the culture of communications technology in the United States, drawing on surveys and personal experience to understand how Americans use the Internet, both in general and specifically for activities related to faith and spirituality. The Church is not unaware of these technologies; Chapter 4 brings together some Church documents and theological reflection on the opportunities and dangers of modern methods of communication. Given the volatile nature of information technology, it is more important to understand guidelines and objectives than to choose specific technologies. Chapter 5 offers a set of principles that can be used to evaluate proposed technology uses and to spark creative thinking around areas where we might discover shortfalls. In Chapter 6 I attempt to test these principles by applying them to some web sites, both our own and others that appear to be recognized as “best in class” examples.