The goal of this study is to explore the effects of trans-media culture on faith formation. It is argued that theologically informed awareness of media effects will strengthen the faith formation practices of the church in a trans-media era. The thesis is tested by examining trans-media effects in a variety of settings, including sermon preparation, rites of Christian initiation for adults, massively multi-player role playing games, and digital social media.
By applying resources from media ecology, philosophy of technology, theological studies, and other cross-disciplinary areas, the study identifies a variety of ways awareness of media effects strengthens the faith formation practices of the church in a trans-media era. Particular attention is given to the melding of material and spiritual culture. Because the effects of the development of new media are hotly contested in academia and the wider culture, voices of warning are given considerable attention. Additionally, because Christian faith tries to understand secular life in the context of lived faith, one whole chapter is devoted to exploring the pneumatological implications of faith formation’s embeddedness in material culture.
This study concludes that awareness of trans-media effects increases the likelihood that beauty, from a theological perspective, will be understood as grace that is justice. The Church will be more effective in understanding new technology within an eschatological framework of the future as now. Network culture will offer a substantial metaphor for what life in God, and life together, is in its mediated multiplicity. Although these are preliminary proposals for comprehending the benefits of awareness of media effects in a trans-media era, they hopefully serve as signposts for further inquiry and exploration.
Theological Mentor: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD
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Schnekloth, Clint, "After the Book: Faith Formation in a Trans-media Culture" (2012). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 110.