My Friend, Ruth Everhart, reminds me that genius constellations have often formed. They are pockets of brilliance, where we can see how people worked together and fed each other with their creativity. Whether it was the Harlem Renaissance, the Paris Impressionists, or the Delta Blues musicians, there have been points in history where men and women have gained courage and inspiration from each other’s ideas. They have stretched each other, making their friends into better artists, writers, and professionals.
There is another sort of constellation now, one that connects our brilliant ideas and passions through vast space. Through the Internet and our ability to publish our theories, disseminate ideas, and organize people through it, community forms and friendships emerge, and people who were once segregated are able to hear one another and live together in a different way.
Speaking to one another face-to-face, seeing the expressions, and hearing the tremble in each voice has not waned in importance; it is just that we have various other tools that can enhance our personal expressions and make our interpersonal communication even deeper.
Just as the printing press revolutionized the printed written word with its ability to disperse information in an inexpensive and efficient manner, we are experience experiencing the same sort of transformation in our communication. Now, connections of like-minded people no longer have to congregate in one location to communicate, share ideas, organize, and spark one another’s imaginations, but can instead form constellations of thought no matter how far apart their geographical locations.
Even with the dangers of on-line communications, and even though such communication is unlikely ever to completely replace face-to-face interaction, we recognize the that blogging and social networking communities can be important avenues for ministry and pastoral care, empowering people to communicate freely their ideas, passions, questions, and doubts.
Right now, these constellations are forming, but the men and women do not have to sit around the same café table in order for the constellation of ideas to spark one another. Where do you see them? What effect do you think all of this will have on the church?