On the eve of the feast day of Ignatius Loyola, John Brown, S.J., launches The Jesuit Review, which features a 10 installment set of internet videos focusing on Jesuit/Ignatian spirituality, Jesuit history and contemporary Jesuits.
Brown is joining a list of extraordinary Christian commentators who grasp the incredible potential of the web to change how the Church communicates with the world. Evangelization has never had such opportunities open to it, and a series of extraordinarily talented theologians are demonstrating to the wider community of Christian scholars, teachers and pastors the vast potential of the web, among them Albert Mohler, Jr, Mark D. Roberts and John Mark Reynolds –Presbyterian, Baptist, and Orthodox respectively. There are of course many others, and folks like Joe Carter are showing laymen as well how to use the web to communicate their values and worldview. A new and younger group of Christian bloggers are also making their way into the virtual crossroads, among them Rhett Smith and Matt Anderson.
I am not aware of any American seminary yet offering “new media and evangalization” courses, but they can’t be far behind. (Rome’s Pontifical University of The Holy cross has a growing graduate program that teaches communication theory and skills applicable across new media. Some American seminaries across denominational lines should examine it closely for ideas on how to focus some resources on the new technologies open to the Church.) The Jesuit Review is just one more example of the variety of great uses to which the web can be put when good and creative minds invest time and thought in the process.
If the prospect of using the web to advance your faith intrigues you, think about attending GodBlogCon 3, one of the tracks at BlogWorldExpo in Las Vegas on November 8 and 9. Most of the people mentioned in this post will be participating, and perhaps John Brown can be induced to join them. The communication directors of every major Christian institution and the pastors of most megachurches should be in attendance at this event.
One other note on evangelization –Father C. John McCloskey’s new book, written with Russell Shaw, arrived in the mail, Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion, and the Crisis of Faith. Father McCloskey is known as the priest who introduced many of D.C.’s high profile converts to the Catholic Church.
The crisis of the war and the clashes of political life tend to obscure the great things that are happening as a result of the communications revolution, and the impact on the Church’s ability to spread its message is among those very, very good things.