We asked some expert observers of the religion scene how they are navigating the new media. What do they read, watch and listen to? How have their reading, listening and viewing habits changed over the past decade?Here's Mark Silk: "I’ve always been a news junkie. I still take two dead-tree newspapers—the New York Times and the Hartford Courant. I look at the Washington Post every morning, and I listen to NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered while driving to and from work. At work, I’m in thrall to the continuous news cycle. I check the AP wire on Yahoo as soon as I sit down at my desk, and then scan the general-interest blogs and blogzines—the Daily Dish, Politico, Talking Points Memo, Huffington Post, the Daily Beast."
Like most pastors, I claim that the face-to-face meeting is the best way to do the ministry of the church; also like most pastors, I spend an enormous amount of time reading and composing e-mails. I am driven not so much by my own schedule or preferences as by those of my church members. Many of them use e-mail all day long and expect the church to do the same. If I want to keep up, I have to keep typing.
"Oreon told me she’s praying for you,” my husband, Gary, said in between bites. We were having dinner one night when I was having a particularly stressful time at work. Gary is a pastor at a downtown Chicago church, and Oreon is one of the staff members there. “Why is Oreon praying for me?” I asked. I hadn’t had more than a passing hello with Oreon in weeks. “She saw your Facebook status message,” he said.
I never meant to start a blog. One day I was reading online and followed one link to another link, then landed on a page where a woman was describing how she told her young daughter that a beloved congregant had died. She wrote with graceful prose and a few pinches of well-timed humor. I kept on reading. On another site, a preacher discussed fingernail polish, evoking a spirited conversation about whether or not the well-dressed clergywoman should wear bright colors in the pulpit. Eventually I left a comment, and then another. Then I began checking back to read the comments of other bloggers. I was hooked. Soon I had a blog of my own.