Spirituality in a Digital Age - Day FIVE

game of 3’s
• small groups will work together collaboratively to create a digital flyer
that answers this question: what is the gospel?
• note: this is an evocative exercise, not a search for “the right answer”
• you will have 30 minutes in which to create your piece
• you may use no more than 3 images and no more than 3 words
• your images and your words may not be explicitly religious
• use a tool (powerpoint, keynote, tackk, etc.) that will allow you to

share it with the class on the screen...


We (as a class) see...





individual but part of a community

ready to take on the world, but there has to be movement, within and out

What is the relationship between the two images?

What are the genders of the characters?

The group intended to communicate:

searching, joy, (a metaphor for US vs "Down Under"! :) ), solitude


We (as a class) see...

everyday life -- perspective -- abundance -- curiosity/awe to the pilgrimage of everyday life, in community


taken amongst us... like the gospel amongst us

community -- food

there's more than enough for all -- a feast

new life

humor (perhaps unintentionally)-- the gospel need not always be so serious

taken as people go into an institution learning of God

Unintentional, but as the banquet quickly disappears in video, reminds us of how many do not have abundance, or never show up to the banquet

The group intended to communicate:

(there actually was humor around the first image's creation!)

music to bring in an outside worldview, from beyond here.

table fellowship that happens around break time

an established tree of faith; we are the saplings. The saplings carry forth the faith in the future, looking up to what's come before.


We (as a class) see...

Love the hands: hands up, multiple textures/tones

God has no hands but ours

community, the body of Christ, unity in diversity

giving and receiving

contrast between looking down at hands/floor, and up to sky


does the gap in trees look like a cross?

it doesn't need the words to convey meaning... meaning of images is more multivalent

The group intended to communicate:

giving and receiving (used Pixler to add words to images)

(took pictures of our hands)

I didn't even think about how it made sense!

(last image was from one students' pastoral visits in 2013- a church that feeds public school children) (middle taken by another's view after a class)


We (as a class) see...


from knowledge to wisdom

if book is Bible, must allow word to take root in us

there's a face in the tree! (there's more than one, actually)

resplendent love, the light of love bursting into the world

almost like the hands coming out of the foundation of the book. Son <>Sun.

paper is dead tree, but live trees

hands point down to wisdom. > is word made of stones or bones? Wisdom ageless.

good job citing!

the first two images require more exegesis/interpretation

The group intended to communicate:

(we didn't intend the face in the tree!)


We (as a class) see...

it's all trees... cycle of death and life?

gospel, life is not just joy! Very realistic

in mourning, trees disintegrate, become one with the earth--- innocence, fragility of saplings -- laughter: playfulness, joy of light often covered

Human journey represented by the natural journey

The group intended to communicate:

people in brokenness, often come to know the gospel... getting to know yourself again in innocence, and then in its fullness there is laughter/joy, maturity but also childlike-ness doesn't go away

games and spirituality

What is a game? A game has:



a feedback system

voluntary participation

    (McGonigal); rocketsmash

five practices for living in the tragic gap

• an understanding that we are all in this together
• an appreciation of the value of otherness
• an ability to hold tension in life-giving ways
• a sense of personal voice and agency
• a capacity to create community


              Is there a connection here?

“the new culture of learning is a culture of collective inquiry that harnesses the resources of the network and transforms them into nutrients within the petri dish environment, turning it into a space of play and experimentation.”

“that moment of fusion between unlimited resources and a bounded environment creates a space that does not simply allow for imagination, it requires it.”

“only when we care about experimentation, play,and questions more than efficiency, outcomes andanswers do we have a space that is truly open tothe imagination. and where imaginations play,learning happens.” (ThomasSeelyBrown,118)

McGonigal: Research shows:

“awe can come from collaboration…”

“collaboration involves cooperating, coordinating,and co-creating…”

“people playing games get to practice shared concentration, synchronized engagement, mutual regard, and collective commitment…”

what’s theological about games?


            The popularity of GAMES, if we follow McGonigal, is about                                      deeply spiritual things, such as...

how they promote an urgent optimism

“Notice how the flowers grow. They do not toil or spin. But I tell you not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of them.” (Luke 12:27) ...We understand that death is not final, that we are baptized into death precisely because we are thus drawn deeply into life everlasting

how they create a tight social fabric (in a world where children/teens feel increasingly ALONE)

“God has thrown down the rulers from their thrones, but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich he has sent away empty.” (Luke 1:46-55)...how tight a social fabric is woven when we understand that those who mourn, those who are weak, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness — are blessed? how tight is a community which values the widow, the orphan, the immigrant, the child?

how they create an environment of blissful productivity

think of children! (Matthew 19:14, Luke 18:16)...blissful productivity is woven deeply into notions of the priesthood of all believers, into profound understandings of vocation...per Frederick Buechner, vocation is where your deep joy and the world’s deep needs intersect...

how these environments are where EPIC MEANING can become pursued and even realized

can we imagine a story more epic than that of God’s
relationship with God’s people over eons? Creation, the Exodus, the Covenant at Sinai, the Promised Land, Davidic rule, Jesus’ life and death and resurrection....? we hold within our hands and our hearts stories and practices that are a moral compass of the sort Maria Popova speaks...

... yet

    ... how often are our Christian faith communities tapping into these yearnings?

    how do our Christian practices tap into these... and how can they?

what if God is all around us, communicating with us even in the midst of digital cultures?

what if we could use social media to weave a more tight social fabric? what could that look like?

what if we could find ways to enter digital culture that create and draw upon blissful productivity?

what if we could develop practices that help us to recover and ignite an urgent optimism in the midst of digital spaces?

what if engaging spirituality in a digital age is an epic adventure?

we need to work on sharing our stories, and digital culture invites us to do so in myriad ways

we need to build authority, not assume it

how will we “story” ourselves and the church?

how will we invite people into epic meaning-making adventures?

-where does our fear come from? Why does our culture seemingly have so much invested in making us afraid of these new realities?



that moves to CONTEMPLATION

and a deeper, more abiding LOVE...

(that can take new, unexpected forms/directions... i.e., towards enemies?)

“value and meaning get created as grassroots communities, tap into creative products as resources for their own conversations, and spread them to others who share their interests”

                          Spreadable Media, Henry Jenkins (2013

closing rituals

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.


Sr. Ruth Fox