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Networked Theology

Negotiating Faith in Digital Culture

series: Engaging Culture

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This informed theology of communication and media analyzes how we consume new media and technologies and discusses the impact on our social and religious lives. Combining expertise in religion online, theology, and technology, the authors synthesize scholarly work on religion and the internet for a nonspecialist audience. They show that both media studies and theology offer important resources for helping Christians engage in a thoughtful and faith-based critical evaluation of the effect of new media technologies on society, our lives, and the church.

About the Series

The Engaging Culture series is designed to help Christians respond with theological discernment to our contemporary culture. Each volume explores particular cultural expressions, seeking to discover God's presence in the world and to involve readers in sympathetic dialogue and active discipleship.

Introduction: When New Media Meets Faith
1. Theology of Technology 101: Understanding the Relationship between Theology and Technology
2. New Media Theory 101: Understanding New Media and the Network Society
3. Networked Religion: Considering How Faith Is Lived in a Network Society
4. Merging the Network with Theology: Who Is My Neighbor in Digital Culture?
5. Developing a Faith-Based Community Response to New Media
6. Engaging Appropriately with Technology and Media


"Networked Theology is robustly theological in (1) addressing the nature of being human (theological anthropology) in an era of network individualism, (2) analyzing the nature of human social relations (ecclesiology and theology of society) in a time of connectivity commodification, and (3) revisioning the form of Christian faithfulness (theology of culture and mission theology) in our digitally mediated world. Amid the emerging literature at the intersection of theology and technology, Campbell and Garner give us the first sustained assessment of contextual and public theology for living in and against Web 3.0."

Amos Yong, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Networked Theology contributes to a burgeoning field in Christian theology--theologically engaged reflections on digital culture--with wisdom, learning, and passion. Campbell and Garner are a dream team to tackle this topic. Their combined expertise results in an impressive interdisciplinary endeavor, bringing up-to-date, rigorous media scholarship together with thoughtful, engaged theological practice. They offer much-needed historical and theoretical grounding to help describe where we are and how we got here. They also offer rich theological and deeply pastoral resources to help communities engage their work. This will be a wonderful text for seminary and advanced undergraduate classes and for pastors and laypeople who want to understand their own digital practices."

Kathryn Reklis, Fordham University; research fellow, The New Media Project, Christian Theological Seminary

"A thoughtful, compelling, and substantial reflection on the intersection of networked religion and Christian theology. The authors' distinctive backgrounds--his in computer science, hers in media studies--offer unique perspectives from which to consider difficult questions about identifying and loving our neighbors in the midst of digital cultures. An excellent text for both seminary and congregational study."

Mary Hess, Luther Seminary

"A fine introduction to major themes at the intersection of technology and theology in the age of new media."

Quentin Schultze, Calvin University (emeritus); coauthor of An Essential Guide to Interpersonal Communication

The Authors

  1. Heidi A. Campbell

    Heidi A. Campbell

    Heidi A. Campbell (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is professor of communication at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. She has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal, and on...

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  2. Stephen Garner

    Stephen Garner

    Stephen Garner (PhD, University of Auckland) is academic dean and senior lecturer in theology at Laidlaw College in Auckland, New Zealand. He holds an MSc in computer science and worked in a number of fields in the information technology sector before entering...

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2018 Clifford G. Christians Ethics Research Award

"Provides needed reflection on what is happening in our digital world in relationship to Christian theology and its practice. . . . This book will be appropriate for both upper level undergraduates, supplementary graduate studies, and the thoughtful layperson. . . . This book makes the much needed argument for Christian communities to humbly and confidently question and engage with digital culture. Campbell and Garner's research is thorough, pulling from multiple disciplines and gathering in this one textbook earlier scholars' investigations and insights with the topic, extending that research in valuable ways using biblical norms."

Annalee Ward,

Journal of Christian Teaching and Practice

"An engaging, theologically compelling portrait of how our digitally networked culture works and how religious communities might become more adept at creating digital networks that embody the Gospel in form and content. . . . In our brave new world of rapidly changing technology, Campbell and Garner provide scholars, religious leaders, and lay practitioners a wide-ranging and encouraging assessment of our current context and an inspiring vision of what's possible for religious communities today and in the future."

Deanna A. Thompson,

Theology Today

"A helpful introduction to the possibilities of thinking theologically in the digital era. . . . Digital media practitioners in the churches, students, communication researchers interested in religion, and those engaged in public theology will all benefit from the book."

Paul A. Soukup, SJ,

Communication Research Trends

"It would be hard to argue the relationship between theology and digital media has been rigorously, much less exhaustively, examined. However, there is a growing tide of scholarship seeking to fill this void, and [this book] is a welcome addition to this discourse. The book serves as both an introduction to the terminology and big ideas in media and technology studies, and an attempt to open a dialogue between that field and the practical work of Christian theologians and pastors. . . . Campbell and Garner do an excellent job of explaining what exactly digital media studies and network theory is, a field many professional theologians and Christian ministers are undoubtedly unfamiliar with. Major thinkers such as Manuel Castells and Lev Manovich are summarized and contextualized lucidly, and many of both the dangers and excitements of digital media technology are presented equitably. One of the authors' key contributions is to remind their readers that digital technologies are more than just objects, but become whole environments in which people conduct their lives."

Michael Raubach,

Reading Religion

"The highly qualified authors give a thorough presentation of the technical developments and possibilities under theological perspective. . . . The approach and considerations of this small and professionally solid volume are precise, well founded, and solid in a way which is not easily matched by other publications trying to consider the relation between religion and digital community. The book must be considered as one of the most informative, balanced, and at the same time practical presentations for 'negotiating faith in digital culture.' The presentations are backed up with an eleven-page bibliography and an index which help to further study and even go beyond common sources."

Franz-Josef Eilers, SVD,

Verbum SVD

"I appreciate how the authors take care to define the fundamentals of both technology and theology without becoming too locked into difficult terminology. This makes it palatable for the layperson to read. For those of us who are familiar with these terms, the definitions and descriptions can be a good review as well. . . . Apart from technology, the theological perspective is sensitive to other disciplines like sociology, mission, connectivity, culture, and others, which makes this book a fascinating read. In the same manner, [the authors] urge churches to develop their own theological convictions on how to interact with the digital culture."

Conrade Yap,

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