The topic of the internet is vastly underrepresented in the current literature on the intersection of technology and theology. Studies on internet theology are certainly viewed as a topic of ‘special interest’, relevant – it might be thought – only to eccentric academics and tech geeks.
The HTML of Cruciform Love contends, however, that there is no topic more pertinent to our daily walk as contemporary followers of Jesus Christ than the theological implications of the internet. These twelve essays, though standalone pieces, also work together to investigate the themes of community and character formation in the digital realm. A host of interrelated sub-themes are represented, including the application of patristic theology to contemporary internet praxis, a demonology of the internet, and virtue ethics in cyberspace, alongside studies that consider the implications of internet technology on aesthetics, personhood, and the self. Together, the chapters work toward a collaborative, constructive, cruciform theology of the internet, which is more than a supplementary component to our personal lives; rather, it is a medium of vital connection for the digital communion of the saints through the HTML of cruciform love.
List of Contributors
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: Toward a Theology of the Internet / John Frederick
1. The Discipline of the Eyes: Reflections on Visual Culture, Ancient and Modern / Ben Myers and Scott Stephens
2. Interface Is Reality / Kutter Callaway
3. Cyber-Genesis of the Digital Self / John Frederick
4. The Bible Is Not a Database / T.C. Moore
5. See Me, Hear Me, Praise Me: An Internet for More than Vainglory / Chad Bogosian
6. A Theology of Work for a Virtual Age / Scott B. Rae
7. Mark’s Jesus and the Internet: Exegetical Reflections on Authority, Identity, and Community / Jen Gilbertson
8. The Solomonic Temple: Technology and Theology / Walter Kim
9. The Internet Gaze / Eric Stoddart
10. Virtual Counterfeit of the Infinite: Emmanuel Levinas and the Temptation of Temptation / Donald Wallenfang
11. The Church and Electronic Media – Foundational Issues: Our Addiction to Efficiency and the Myth of Neutrality / Mark D. Baker
12. Crafting or Bearing the Present: Reflections on the Character of Christian Community / Clark Elliston
Ancient Document Index
Endorsements and Reviews
This book is a beautiful example of theological exploration on a component central to the lives of so many people: the internet. The essays diverge in various ways, some more appreciative of the internet’s impact on theology and religious life, others more leery. Those who take theology seriously in an age of internet need to reckon with the powerful ideas in this fine collection!
Thomas Jay Oord, author of God Can’t: The Uncontrolling Love of God
Through a set of intelligent, well-crafted, and stimulating essays representing a diversity of views, the volume offers constructive tools for a critically faithful Christian engagement with the internet. Ranging from biblical exegesis to political theology and social ethics, Clement of Alexandria to Luther and Levinas, The HTML of Cruciform Love is necessary reading, and should be put in the hands of every seminarian and church leader.
Ephraim Radner, Wycliffe College
This is a very timely and thought-provoking volume. Theologians formed before the internet even took its hold on contemporary culture will do well to attend to its messages. For there is no reason in principle, of course, why theology of the most demanding and life-changing sort should not be purveyed via this medium, and with great and widespread influence; the problem then is one of discernment, of ascetic choices which the internet as a whole requires of us. The contributors to this exploratory volume are well aware of this challenge and provide rich and reflective essays in response to it.
Sarah Coakley, University of Cambridge and Australian Catholic University
The essays are interesting and compelling on their own.
Reading Religion, 21 June 2020