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Many of us are "always on"--scrolling through social media, checking email, or searching the web. New media spaces can be sites and instruments of God's unconditional love, but they can also nurture harmful conditions and become sources of anxiety, jealousy, and despondency. Always On provides useful tools for helping students and congregants understand the world of social media and engage it faithfully, enabling Christian communities to address its use in constructive, pastoral ways. The book includes discussion questions and sample exercises for each chapter.
“Our increasingly digitized lives provide both profound brokenness and opportunities for our shared humanity to be diminished. However, they also provide glorious possibilities to be more present with those who suffer from the ills and injustices of the world. In this inspiring new work, Angela Gorrell offers a compelling Christian vision of the good life within the landscape of new media. Incisively attentive to malformed visions of the good life offered by various kinds of new media, Gorrell contrasts those visions with the life and ministry of Jesus in ways that equip and empower Christians to engage in intentional practices that align with Christ’s transformative and healing vision for a new social order. Gorrell demonstrates that the new media landscape is neither simply life-negating nor simply life-affirming, and that it’s possible to nurture a Christian hybrid existence that reflects God’s nonviolent and compassionate love for creation today and into the future.”—Deanna Thompson, author of The Virtual Body of Christ in a Suffering World
“This book couldn’t be more timely. More and more our lives and identities are being worked out in digital spaces that are always on. So we are asked to be always on, performing and reforming our identities, seeking likes and retweets to confirm our being. What does this mean for formation into the life and death of Jesus Christ? What does it mean for the pastoral task of building community? Angela Gorrell takes up the challenge in Always On. This is an exciting, deep, and well-written project that promises to get you thinking. Dive in!”—Andrew Root, Carrie Olson Baalson Professor of Youth and Family Ministry, Luther Seminary; author of The Pastor in a Secular Age
“In Always On, Angela Gorrell takes us straight into the new media abyss that we all face every day. Gorrell’s background as a pastor, theologian, and new media researcher invites us to consider how new media affects every aspect of our lives and how easily we can find ourselves lost in the process. She doesn’t give in to the temptation to blame social media but rather helps us recognize how little attention we give to the ways we allow it to consume us. This is a helpful, practical book on one of the most pressing and real-life struggles we experience today.”—Chap Clark, author of Hurt 2.0 and Adoptive Church; pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, California
“Always On considers how technology and social media impact identity and community formation. Exhibiting theological reflection for our sound-bite culture, Gorrell perceptively explains new media’s ability to malign and abet both hope and harm. More than a simple description of the new landscape, Gorrell examines the narratives that shape us in a way that both acknowledges harmful assumptions and serves as an invitation to interested conversations with those in the widest sphere of influence—virtual and visible conversation partners. Critical of how easily we yield to deficient interactions through new media, Gorrell argues for practices of righteousness, peace, and joy that exist online and in person. Fresh, contemporary, and practical: the language of this book is twenty-first century; the Christian call is first century; the promise of recovering humanity’s capacity to bear the image of God in the world is eternal.”—Joy J. Moore, ecclesial storyteller and lead pastor, Bethel United Methodist Church, Flint, Michigan