Social media and blogs are fine, but it's in serious local communities where ideas are sorted out and tested in the spirit via a biblical tradition, Fitch observes. (Photo: Nicolás Pérez/Wikimedia Commons)
More than 3.5 million books are published in the world every year while around 500,000 people complete a marathon.
This means it's seven times easier for somebody to publish a book than to run a marathon. It's even easier to start a blog.
If you're skillful in using Twitter, it's not hard to gain a large following. If you can write, you can publish books, influence thousands and make money for publishers.
In the religious realm, the resultant pop theology that emerges forms hundreds of thousands of the younger generations.
This is not entirely negative, as social media opens up exchanges of all kinds for theological banter. Yet I wonder where is the place for serious theological reflection?
I remember when Brian McLaren came out with "A New Kind of Christian," which made space safe for the kind of conversations everybody wanted to have. Shortly thereafter, came a series of his books that were widely discussed.
I recall having several conversations with teachers of theology within academia who were shocked at McLaren's success and the speed by which his ideas were being hailed as revolutionary.
To them, his work appeared to be using categories established prior to Karl Barth and World War II.
They asked, "How could something so old gain such popularity as if it's new?" In the words of a friend, it was Adolf Harnack without the footnotes.