Another blast from the past. A paper I presented at the Association of Practical Theology in 2014. I explore the internet as a digital social space. I think my thoughts on the internet and social media have drastically changed (not for the better). However, I still hope that our digital tools can be a force for social good.
Abstract: The internet has changed the ways human beings connect and understand one another. Through the use of social media, people find themselves immersed in a digital environment consisting of various practices and behaviors. As Christianity continues to negotiate the often tricky relationship it has with digital experience, what philosophical and methodological stance should practical theology take towards the internet? This paper argues that Henri Lefebvre’s concept of social space provides a helpful avenue to engage contemporary digital interactivity and experience. Social space is the lived expression of exchanged between subjects who both live in and comprise it. As such, churches should recognize the internet’s social spatiality. The internet is no longer something one uses as a tool; instead it has become woven into the very fabric of contemporary life. A total reorientation towards the internet, by churches and theologians, is necessary in order to connect to contemporary culture and religion.