Digital Wisdom: A Manifesto — Jim Burklo, USA

Note: before using the ‘Digital Manifesto’ in full, consider the congregation.  What are local concerns and worries about digital usage?  Perhaps a selection from the Manifesto might suffice.  Perhaps there are other concerns to be added or inserted. May this act of faith be meaningful.

Worship offers us space in which to reflect on our world, our life in it and our responsibilities as faithful Christians.  This ‘Digital Manifesto’ offers us an opportunity to reflect on the role digital media plays in our lives and to reclaim or reaffirm a faithful response to it.

Please read the bold sections aloud together, and I will read that which is not bold.  You might want to hold your digital phone during this time of reflection and commitment. Please be sure it is turned off. (smile)

God, thank you for the time and passion you have given us.  We bring before you our communication tools–our phones, our digital devices.  Help us be mindful, honest and well-meaning as we share these commitments with ourselves, one another and you.

We will use our smartphones and other technology for the common good.

We will be responsible and thoughtful users of digital technology, and prayerfully consider the impacts of our own consumption and production of media on other people.

We will post about our personal lives with honesty, humility, and kindness

avoiding dishonest representations, hype, sexualization, or excessive curation

We will consider others as we post and read

being highly sensitive to the possible negative impacts of any posting about other people.

We will limit our use of smartphones and other devices

so that they do not dominate our lives to the detriment of face-to-face relationships, physical activity, creativity, and contemplative practice.

We will seek clear distinctions between facts and people’s opinions about them.

For news, we will seek sources of information produced with high journalistic or scientific standards, subject to editorial oversight, clearly distinguishing between factual reporting and opinion, and presenting multiple editorial leanings.  We will not rely solely for information on public affairs from individuals, independent bloggers or podcasters.

We will clearly distinguish between facts and our opinions about them.

We will strive to follow high standards, similar to journalists, in producing and distributing digital content.  We will seek out and subject ourselves to the counsel and scrutiny of wise, truthful and thoughtful people.  We will be transparent about our assumptions. We will reveal our sources. If legitimate flaws in our content are pointed out to us, we will publicly admit our errors.

We will avoid media sources that amplify outrage.

We will seek verifiable information from sources that present facts without sensationalism. We will seek news presented clearly and objectively, and will strive to respond wisely and appropriately.

We will support each other in living up to these commitments.

We rely on our faith community as a safe space where we can openly and respectfully discuss public issues with our peers and hear different perspectives and points of view. We will seek wise counsel from each other in responding to what we find in social media and news media.

These commitments we make with hope to uphold them.

God, strengthen us to be faithful in our use of digital devices, upholding your values of truth, compassion, peace and justice.  Amen.

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