I have posted before about Emerging Scotland.
This began as a network on Facebook, which led to a number of meetings planned into this year.
This seems to be a great way of taking things forward.
I started the facebook group, and have put a lot of time and thought and discussion into the possibilities of a network. A recent discussion has focussed my mind again on what my own hopes are for such a thing.
I have participated in a few on-line ventures already- the most notable being Missional Tribe, where I cross post some of my blog entries. Most of these sites start well, and things tail away as interest wanes and people move onto the next big thing- there seems to be something about the net that promotes and elevates the ephemeral, and this is both a strength and weakness. Things do not tend to last long.
Through some of these web based portals I have conversed with some interesting folk, and had some interesting discussions. One of those recurring discussions has centred around the value of all this on line blogging, twittering, facebooking and networking. Why do we do it? What purpose does it serve? Might these things really facilitate significant human and spiritual development?
Well for me, the verdict is mixed. Thomas posted a really interesting take on this here.
I think the way of the cross is finds it’s real meaning in community. And measured by the quality of that community.
And I am also well aware of the research about how the strength of our societies can be measured by the degree to which we are connected with one another. The degree to which we love and share and do the things that Jesus talked about in the sermon on the mount.
Check out this stuff on happiness
Social networking may or may not contribute to the way our society learns again the need to connect, but it is unlikely to be the complete answer.
Whatever its limitations, it also offers real possibilities. I have met people who I believe I will continue to share life with online.
Which brings me back to Emerging Scotland.
My motivation for starting the thing arose from the circumstances we found ourselves in in Dunoon. Part of a group that was mostly outside organised church, and increasingly (particularly me) feeling that the way I understood my faith was different from the mainstream faith groups in Scotland.
I began to read and read and and read- and dream of other ways of doing things.
But at the back of my mind, there has always been this need for connection- people who will hold me accountable and be accountable in return- people whose power will add to mine, and mine to theirs.
Hence, Emerging Scotland.
But I am old now- 42 after all, and so now have the answer to the meaning of life the universe and everything. So I am well aware that the formation of new things can be messy! There has been a bit of storming in the forming this week.
But I am convinced that in this new context, we need to make active decisions to walk together, not just wave at one another from across the the world wide web…