still one more day to go but I already summarized some impressions for the panel discussion this morning.
Open Source and More:
Churches and Christian organizations are turning to open source software, there are many good examples for good practice. Recalling the session in the Ecumenical Center with the representatives of the WCC, LFW and ActAlliance, the argument for choosing open source was that drupal (or whatever platform they decided to use) suits their needs best. This, however, is no argument for open source software but for good software.
Especially after Karsten Gerloff’s presentation I believe there are theological arguments for open source software. However, we as theologians have to spell them out. Open source (you may also ad OER) is also a justice issue. If you use fair trade coffee in your church reunions, why not use Open Source? And why not put our content under an open Creative Commons License?
http://www.globethics.net is an example how content can be made available – especially to students and researchers who do not have access to libraries but I is also an example how copyright laws impede the free access to educational resources.
Maybe or the first time, a political issue – mass surveillance – was a main topic. Julia Maria Koszewska presented a good case. Personally, I can agree with the political analysis and also demand action. However – it is the same question again – what are the theological arguments against surveillance? I do not find the commandment “Thou shalt not gather data” Talking to Julia Maria after her presentation, I believe we could also present a theological case against mass surveillance but we need a theological basis for doing so.
Social Media and More
Colleagues from other countries reported what we are experiencing, too. Facebook’s new algorithm makes it hard to increase one’s reach above a certain level if you don’t pay. But that is not an option for most churches and non profit organizations. The Facebook hype has slowed down, also due to privacy concerns. What is our social media strategy? I hope this conference will be an incentive to our friends from the Finnish Lutheran church to translate their strategy or provide at least an English summary.
It is always good to see how people just do social media projects on grassroots levels, the Swedish Instagram project http://instagram.com/svenskakyrkan is a good example.
Apps are becoming more common so it is good to know there are affordable tools available to develop apps with a small budget.
The Internet is a good tool to promote direct ecumenical relations between individual congregations which are located in different continents. The Internet allows a congregation to become “ para local” a term Roger Schmidt coined in his keynote. I believe that congregational live can be deeple enriched if a church goes para-local but I think the Internet is a lot more than a tool, it is an environment we live in and we have to adapt to. A task we still have to accomplish also we are on a good way.