Been reading about the taking down of a blog which was written by a policeman whose identity was uncovered. I have been considering whether anonymity is something which Christian bloggers should think about from a theological point of view. Many of us have policies about not accepting anonymous posts.
David Clough (Grove booklet 'Unweaving the Web') has his reservations about anonymity for we communicate with each other with no sense of fixed identity. So how far is this freeing in that we see past the exterior and into the inner workings of someone's mind. We are unaware perhaps of their gender, age, skin colour, nationality etc. How far is this actually negating or marginalising our physicality and our identity when these things are sacred too and particularly our identity and name from a Christian perspective: Isaiah 43:1
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
In fact the Christian community is all about identity. We name at baptism – we give a Christian name in front of many witnesses as well as before a Holy God. As David Clough describes 'after this naming, the congregation are asked to take responsibility for supporting the new church member in their Christian life. Thus it is the bestowing of this identity that calls for responsibility on the part of the individual, and on the part of those who are called to recognize this new identity.' p. 21
For Israel, being chosen and known by God is to be responsible before God in covenant relationship – perhaps there is a threat to the covenant nature of relationship between human beings in cyberspace. Perhaps therefore it is up to Christians in particular to be as shaped by God in the virtual world as they are in the real world. God is a God of cyberspace too and for Christians his laws pervade this unchaterable space too. Ruth Gledhill, the Times Religion correspondent with her own blog called 'Articles of Faith' has come up with the 10 commandments for bloggers so that there might be the promotion of a shared integrity for those embarking on the discussion of their faiths on internet web-blogs. Divulging your identity in full truthfulness is an essential. There needs to be transparency for the promotion of relationship.
However, in the case of the policeman, it is understandable why he wanted to remain anonymous and in some ways there has been an infringement of his rights to express himself, for which we will all be worse off.
Krish Kandiah, executive director of Churches in Mission has said that:
“In the ever-changing information age, what we need is wisdom for life, and God communicates wisdom to our culture through the Bible on every issue from social justice to social networking.”
However, discerning what that wisdom is might not always be so straightforward.
I might get to discuss some of these things at my selection conference. I am talking about internet faith and the Anglican blogosphere. I've just got to fit it all into five minutes which will be a challenge for someone so: (?) emm
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