Thy Kingdom Connected - Book Review
Thy Kingdom Connected: What the Church Can Learn from Facebook, the Internet, and Other Networks by Dwight J. Friesen; Baker Books, 2009
I think the best way to describe Thy Kingdom Connected is that it uses a systematic approach to define and support a form of open-sourced, "network" ecclesiology. In other words, Friesen uses traditional means to describe something new and decidedly non-traditional that is happening in the church. And ultimately, Friesen embraces the need for the Church to become more "networked" in both it's beliefs and praxis.
This "network" lens is, according to Friesen, "a lens through which we can hope to see the world as an integrated whole rather than a dissociated collection of parts." The recent phenomenon of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and even MySpace is seen by Friesen as a gift to the Church as it begins to navigate the uncertain waters of the 21st Century. The emerging culture that surrounds the traditional Church is being formed and informed through online communities and networks. In Friesen's opinion the sooner that the Church begins to understand and to view Creation and all that is in it as part of a grand, God-created network of connectedness, the better. "God's mission," he writes, "is more than the salvation of individuals; it is also the formation of a people who participate with God in the reconciliation of all and the re-creation of the world."
In the end, Friesen presents a vision for the Church that is grounded in the ethos of the "emerging church:" openness, focused on transformation and reformation, decentralized, and defined by the following: "Our churches are more than the sum of the people gathered; they are the people gathered in Christ, united in story, ritual and missional living."