Reshaping Offline Community in the Image of Online Experience: The Impact of Digital Media on Church Conflict in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

Christopher Craig Brittain* (Corresponding Author), Andrew McKinnon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

As more and more people join social media networks, Christian churches struggle to discern how best to adapt to this emerging cultural phenomenon and employ it in ways that are consistent with Christian beliefs, values, and practices. This essay argues that as Christians explore the potential of digital media, they should not neglect to also reflect deeply on the negative aspects of the medium, which are increasingly coming under scrutiny among social scientists and media analysts. We raise this concern in response to our discovery of the capacity of digital media to contribute to church conflict while we were engaged in ethnographic field research in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. The essay identifies ways in which digital media exacerbated tensions among Anglicans and Episcopalians in Pittsburgh and concludes with a reflection on the limitations of one of our online attempts to intervene in these dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-66
Number of pages19
JournalEcclesial Practices
Volume7
Issue number1
Early online date28 Apr 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Keywords

  • church conflict
  • anglican
  • episcopalian
  • digital media
  • internet
  • social media
  • pittsburgh

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