Sunday, September 24, 2017

"Theologians And Philosophers Using Social Media: Advice, Tips, And Testimonials"

Thomas Jay Oord ( teaches at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, and is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. He's also a prolific user of social media and notes that, referencing Marshall McLuhan, "the medium is the message": as we use Facebook, Facebook (in ways we perhaps don't fully understand) uses us. As McLuhan also noted, "the medium is the massage."

In an effort to understand how his scholar and ministerial friends get a grip on social media, he asked 91of them to write about their social media practices. The result is a breezy compendium of good advice focusing on the how.

"Theologians And Philosophers Using Social Media: Advice, Tips, And Testimonials" ($29.95 in paperback from SacraSage Press; also for Amazon Kindle) includes a chapter by Chico theologian and writer Greg Cootsona (

Cootsona teaches religious studies at Chico State University, served as associate pastor for adult discipleship in New York and Chico, and is directing a multi-year grant project through Fuller Seminary called "Science For Students And Emerging Young Adults." His book, "Mere Science And Christian Faith: Bridging The Divide With Emerging Adults," is scheduled to be published soon by InterVarsity Press.

"Social media," he writes, "also brings with it several surprises. The first is a shocking level of incivility. … The second is how much I have to learn about how it is truly the way we communicate today, and yet, how much I have to learn in effectively employing social media." The keys, he says, are not to use polarizing language, recognize that there are many more readers than trolls, "create a strategy and goals with your social media use," and "post in the service of what you are convinced the listening public needs to hear."

Public theologian Brian McLaren ( warns against feeding the trolls; Professor of Science and Religion Karl Giberson ( notes that "a public intellectual needs to have a thick skin"; and Helen De Cruz (, a philosopher of religion and philosopher of cognitive science, reminds social media users to "try to have fun and don't overthink it."

It's all great fun and a real tweet.

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