#DigiWriMo : Posthuman Christianity

I found Sherri Spelic’s #DigiWriMo post about Author, Audience and Parts of Speech an interesting place to start my thoughts for this evening’s #DigiWriMo post. Part of the reason I’m doing #DigiWriMo this year, instead of #NaNoWriMo, which I’ve done other years, is out of the hope of finding a more engaged audience.

Yet when I think about my audience, I am perplexed. It feels like I live in several very disjoint worlds. An audience that lives at the intersection of these worlds is probably very small indeed. Yet I’m looking for ways to build audience, to build community, and bring these worlds a little closer together.

The tagline for an article in Upworthy about teens teaching seniors about technology starts, “In our fast-paced digital world, the generation gap has never been wider.”

Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center is publishing articles on Political Polarization in the American Public.

We’re seeing similar divergences in religion and in the culture wars. It is something I run across in my daily life. Perhaps, after Bowling Alone, we are now becoming more and more disconnected from people not like us.

Last spring, I went to a conference at Yale Divinity School on poetry in worship. I told my co-workers I was taking a few days off for personal time, but didn’t tell them what I was doing. On the signup form for the conference, I had choices for various positions of church leadership, and “other:. I went to the conference embracing my ‘otherness’.

I came away from the conference feeling called to explore the possibility of becoming an ordained Episcopalian priest. I was very circumspect about who I discussed that with initially.

Now, here I am, participating in discussions about digital writing and pedagogy, something most of my friends from various circles are unlikely to discuss. Certainly, it is a not topic for the homeless people I talk with on the street or the elderly folks I visit at the nursing home. I can bring it up at times at work, but mostly I get glazed over stares. At the same time, since it is an avocational interest of mine, I can only speak on a fairly superficial level about Deleuze, Foucault, or so many others whose ideas are finding their way into mine.

My eldest daughter is starting a master’s program in gender studies in Japan. We often have great discussions over Skype about queer studies, and I’m struck how far these discussions are from the discussions I’m having online, even with Episcopalians, about the role of homosexuals in the church.

And then, being the old geek that I am, I’m spend time talking with my transhumanist, posthumanist, singularity focused friends, and I have to wonder, how does Anglican Theology and posthumanism relate, especially when it comes to talking with folks in a typical Episcopalian parish, homeless people on the street, or elderly folks in nursing homes.

Sunday provided some insight into this. For my religious friends, it was All Saints Day, a time when we think about communion of saints, about our connectedness, our community as members of the Body of Christ. It was also the beginning of #DigiWriMo, a time when I am sharing my thoughts and writing with others online. It is also about building community, about building audience.

As I thought about this blog post, as I thought about references to posthumanism, and wondered what posthuman Christianity might be like, it seems like the connections between #DigiWriMo participants, no matter what their faith system is like, may be the closest metaphor I’ve found yet for the digital body of Christ.

Whatever construct or framework you want to look at things from, it seems like the need to build audience, build community, has never been greater.