Over the next couple of weeks, in the runup to #CNMAC12, we’ve asked a number of speakers to respond to the following questions, and here come’s the people’s favourite: Sister Catherine Wybourne. @DigitalNun is speaking at 11.05am in the Theology stream with Pete Phillips:
What is God’s image online? How is God depicted, explored, exhibited, arranged? How do we encounter the unseen God online? In what ways should the image always be blurred?
and will also be listening out for the spiritual themes to emerge throughout the day for the end of day session ‘The Story of Today: Written by you’ with Bex Lewis.
Who are you, what do you do, and how do you come to be speaking at #CNMAC12? What’s your personal ‘story’?
My name is Catherine (@Digitalnun on Twitter) and I’m a cloistered Benedictine nun. The community to which I belong has an online ministry which must have got to the ears of the CNMAC organizers because this is the second time I’ve been invited to take part. It may help that I’m a bit of a techie myself, designing websites and smartphone apps as well as thinking about how best to use them; and, of course, I blog and tweet and make a noise online in a way I wouldn’t in the monastery.
Can you give us a ‘sneak peak’ into the story of your session at #CNMAC12?
Not really, because I’m waiting on the Holy Spirit. The only thing I can say is I shall be listening very hard to other participants . . . .
What is the best ‘good news story’ to come out of your journey as a disciple? What keeps you going when times are hard?
For me, the best ‘good news story’ is simply that God is — infinitely beautiful, lovable and loving. I rely on prayer and life in community, both offline (in the monastery) and online. I find the different points of view enriching, even when I don’t share them, and I value the humour and good naturedness of other people. @BroDuncanPBGV, the monastery dog, wants me to add that he’s a consoling presence, too, especially when I’m tired or down or just plain cantankerous.
We’re working on the @bigbible project. How do you think the (stories in the) Bible can inform what we do online, in whatever sense?
I spend a substantial part of each day reading and reflecting on scripture. The old monastic practice of lectio divina, taking a word or idea and allowing it to become part of one, chewing it over through the course of the day, actually changes the way one approaches online engagement. It makes one want to seek God and what he is saying/doing in any and every situation; it also makes one a bit more sensitive to anything that falls short of him. I don’t think anyone can ‘pray the Bible’, so to say, and then be rude or aggressive online — or close his/her heart against anyone.
Outside of your own session, what are you most looking forward to at #CNMAC12?
I’m looking forward to meeting people I know online but may not have met in the flesh and learning from them all. The only problem is, I don’t have the gift of bilocation, so I don’t know how I’m going to attend all the sessions I’d like to!
See the full conference agenda.