Saints, sinners, smartphones

October 27, 2011

Bishops
and church-growth gurus have been closely following Nadia Bolz-Weber's church
plant in Denver, the House for All Sinners and Saints. An outreach innovator,
Bolz-Weber is a traditionalist when it comes to matters of liturgy and
theology. She appears to have a special attachment to the doctrine of original
sin.

"She
often taps her chest and says, 'It's dark in there,'" notes Century contributing editor Jason
Byassee in a lively report on the congregation
written for the New Media Project at Union Theological Seminary.

Byassee
captures Bolz-Weber's theological style while observing the omnipresence of
social media in her ministry and in her congegation. Texting and
Facebook-updating are just "part of the air Millennial culture breathes," he
says. Bolz-Weber tells him that she is never offline.

That
turns out to mean both more and less than one might think. It's clear that
social media are necessary tools for anyone trying to communicate with the
people who attend House. But Byassee concludes that these technologies don't
define the nature of the community. It cycles between virtual and embodied encounters,
all shaped by the congregation's distinctive brand of traditionalism.

Comments

all saints and sinners

Pastor Bolz Weber, whom I know, would be the first to say that it is not "her" church. Though she may pound on her chest recognizing her sin, she does the same recognizing the wonder of grace.

Jeffrey Louden