BeADisciple’s Director of Social Media Communications, Shannon Sigler, had the recent opportunity to talk with Seedbed about the power of online initiatives in Christian formation, as well as the growth of Wesleyan resources. Here is an excerpt from the conversation.
Learn more about Seedbed’s online initiatives here.
Why is taking to the internet so important for training and formation in today’s world?
Well, if we admit it, we are all already on the internet for many of our waking hours – whether that is for work or pleasure. Most of the day we are consuming content. In my case, it’s some strange combination of Methodist blogs, Pinterest decorating boards, and J.Crew! Oh, and work email, of course.
We consume text, images, and videos constantly, but what percentage of that intake is good for us? Are any of our online pursuits forming us into the image of Christ? Here’s what I am really getting at: can going online become a portal to means of grace?
Some of those Methodist blogs I’m reading might do the trick (maybe . . .), but I believe, increasingly, that Christians should help one another along in the sanctification process through online community. This can be manifest in a number of ways, whether through blogging, virtual resource-sharing, or coming together for online learning courses or workshops.
Interestingly, one of John Wesley’s lesser-known roles was to serve as publisher of printed resources such as tracts and hymns. He was one of the first Christian leaders to utilize the new technology of his own day – the rise of typesetting for print publishing. He was committed to making the Gospel of Holy Love accessible in as many new ways as possible, and we should have the same mission. The Wesleys’ embrace of this historic technology is an example for how we might embrace our own new venues today – using the dynamism and accessibility of online platforms to reach even broader audiences.
Does the gospel with a Wesleyan accent offer any unique contributions for today’s culture?
Yes! The gospel with a Wesleyan accent – the answer to this question is imbedded in that phrase for me. Both John and Charles Wesley lived lives in pursuit of holiness, and this pursuit was manifest in active and practical ways. In other words, they practiced what they preached (or sang). They left us a wealth of sermons, letters, and hymns to serve as examples of their own embodied theology.
This theology was so closely linked with their own pursuit of personal holiness that it seems to have been as natural as an accent is to speaking. Today’s culture yearns for such rich authenticity in life and relationships. Today’s Wesleyans have this unique example, and challenge, to live out our faith so that it is as natural as our own accents – but this is possible only through the work of the Spirit, and through community.
Read the full interview here.
Shannon Steed Sigler is a community artist, curator, and theologian. She also serves as the Director of Social Media Communications for BeADisciple.com. Shannon is the mother of a delightful toddler and the wife of a liturgical scholar. Her own work and research center around a Wesleyan paradigm for the visual arts. Visit her website here.