Theology After Google

Theology After Google Presentations

This first video is my presentation on the first night of the Theology after Google conference.


This is Barry Taylor's (whose blog is here) on the last day, and for me, it felt like what he added was in a beautiful resonance with my thoughts.


I'm still trying to figure out exactly why, but after Barry finished I commented that I felt like I had met a theological brother.  

TAG Reflections

First, I'm sorry for such poor (and poorly aimed) video quality.  If it helps, just ignore the visual and listen like a podcast.  That will fix the problem and you won't have to be exposed to my ridiculously expressive eyebrows.


I have a more formal, written reflection about the event, here, on a spot that the Emergent Village folk asked me to do.

Bob Cornwall's TAG thoughts are here on his blog, Ponderings on a Faith Journey.

Ken Silva's thoughts on my presentation are here, on his blog Apprising Ministires.


Jonathan Brink's post referenced is here.

Joshua Case's (of the Nick and Josh Podcast) reflections, though not identical to his closing remarks, are here.

And Brian Shope wrote about Missio Dei after TAG in a way that was clarifying for me here, at his blog, Pacing the Cage.


And yes, I am aware that all these links go to work by men.  And yes, that makes me sad.  

Theology After Google



Via their website:



Why “theology after Google”?

Progressive Christian theologians have some vitally important things to say, things that both the church and society desperately need to hear. The trouble is, we tend to deliver our message using technologies that date back to Gutenberg: books, academic articles, sermons, and so forth. We aren't making effective use of the new technologies, social media, and social networking. When it comes to effective communication of message, the Religious Right is running circles around us.

Hence the urgent need for a conference to empower pastors, laypeople, and the up-and-coming theologians of the next generation to do “theology after Google,” theology for a Google-shaped world. Thanks to the Ford funding, we’ve been able to assemble a stellar team of cultural creatives and experts in the new modes of communication. We are also inviting a selection of senior theologians, and well as some of the younger theologians (call them “theobloggers”) whose use of the new media (blogging, podcasts, YouTube posts) is already earning them large followings and high levels of influence. For two and a half days, in workshops and in hands-on sessions, in lectures and over drinks, these leading figures will be at your disposal to teach you everything they know.


The Theology After Google conference is coming up this week, and I thought that folks might be interested in some of my contributions there. (They're bringing me in as one of those theobloggers)  Particularly: Members of the Religious Society of Friends, folks interested in theopoetics, and hermeneutics nerds. The full schedule is here, and is all set to Pacific Standard Time. 

The main setup is like TED talks, and will all be live streaming here: .

Please interact, and as I said in the vid, shoot me any comments that you think are relevant.  Fun times.

McLuhan, Media, and Ministers

As part of the Transforming Theology Project over at Claremont, Tripp Fuller and Phillip Clayton are teaching a class called “Theology After Google.”  Given the content of the course, Tripp has been interacting with the Twitterverse and Blogosphere as part of the course content and prep.  He recently suggested that I throw a little somethin somethin together around the topic of the medium and message for modern ministers.  This video is that.

“The medium is the message” is probably the most oft-quoted line from Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan.  I bumped into McLuhan’s work years ago in my studies in communications theory and was utterly bowled over by his insight, wit, and bizarre eccentricity.  Heck, the title of this blog is even because of him.  Anywho, the issue (one of them anyway) with McLuhan is that he never wrote “the book” on anything. He never got all of his ideas into one place and came down definitively on anything, instead favoring short questions and comments that he called “probes.”  The fact that he did this intentionally makes it no less frustrating for same.  He said it was because The Print Age and linear, visual-rational, thinking was closing to be replaced with The Electronic Age’s emphasis on connective thought.  Consequently, his writing, even though published in the 50’s and 60’s  reads more like what would happen if you published the results of a 12 hour web-surfing spree, rather than a finely honed theoretically work.  That point of all this is to say that not as many academics have given him the credit I think he deserves because he wasn’t playing by the rules.  This (of course) I love.

Here I’m trying to re-articulate his probes “the medium is the message,” and of “retribalization” in the context of theology, specifically theology after Google.

I may or may not come back here and add to the text of this post, but I think I fairly well said what I needed to in the video, so please let me know if things are unclear, or if you would like a further articulation of something I said.  I am more than willing to clarify if I can.  Happy viewing, and please comment below.

Related Readings

Great read about how Google might be changing the way we think, “I Google, Therefore I Know.”

An interesting essay which has a long section about McLuhan’s retribalization is here.

An interpretation of  “the medium is the message” from a more “pure McLuhan” standpoint is here.

An article connecting McLuhan and hermeneutics is here.

Less related, but also of note:

An article dealing with McLuhan and revisionist theology is here.