Thursday, May 20, 2010


Another possible connection between "Cathedral" and new media I've been thinking about for a while is the Mormon blogosphere being known as "the bloggernacle." In the story, drawing a cathedral with a blind man becomes an almost spiritual, transmormative experience for the narrator. Like cathedrals and tabernacles are both places where people come together to commune with eachother and with God, the "bloggernacle" is a digital place where people communicate with eachother about God. Feedback?
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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Religion is a good test case for assessing the social significance of new media. And the building of a religious edifice as an act of community (and community building) is well established. There are strong differences between online gathering "places" or virtual communities where religion is discussed and actual religious places and physical gatherings. I still think there is a lot to be done with cathedral as a metaphor for things online. Mormons who participate vigorously in the real time response to General Conference sessions that is possible via Twitter build an on-the-fly sense of community that is surprisingly sincere and even pious. Someone floated the idea of the 1,500 participants in a recent conference session constituting the First Internet Stake. How are communities formed online? What are the structures that create community online? How is the personal or the sacred mediated electronically, authentically?

  3. I don't know if this thought is too off the mark, but it looks as if new media has provided an alternate form of pilgrimage. Your "bloggernacle" comment made me a bit curious, so I started searching similar attitudes in other religions. I found a site that discusses the Catholic Church's recent move to create an online tour of the Sistine Chapel. I followed the link, took the tour, and was amazed at how beautiful the whole experience was. I was able to look in any direction, enlarge any portion of Michelangelo's masterpiece, all while an acapella choir sang to enhance the experience. Whether a viewer is trying to appreciate the aesthetic value of the Sistine Chapel or commune with God, this tour creates an impressive atmosphere.

    While the tour site itself doesn’t have a space for comments or discussion, the blog itself does open up for discussion. The tour facilitates a pilgrimage, while other blogs allow individuals to share that experience with others.

  4. I think that one of the biggest effects of the "bloggernacle" at least among the Mormon moms, is the story of Nie Nie. She's a mormon blogger who was terribly injured in a plane crash in 2008. While she was in a coma, the bloggernacle responded in an amazing way. She was sent thousand of positive messages and prayers from around the world. She and her family were also sent money, gifts, and lots of other helpful things. There are still a great deal of people invested in her recovery, and once she started blogging again, she used her blog as a platform to voice her religious beliefs. She recently did a project where she sent out hundreds of Books of Mormon to her blog followers. I think she exemplifies the best of what the bloggernacle can do. Here's a sweet video about her.

    I think there is an analogy between this and the story Cathedral. She's been able to communicate her beliefs about God to people that have had no experience with spirituality as she knows it. This is much like what the narrator did when he drew the cathedral with the blind man. Maybe?

  5. Mormons blogregate? I'd never thought along those lines before, but considering the basic elements of our faith it makes sense. I was skimming though the topics on and noticed the common theme of LDS people serving and uplifting each other in the faith. I think it's evolution. The Church is all about reaching out and expanding their efforts, and what better way than to embrace this new digital medium so well suited to missionary work. It's like giving sight to the blind/uninformed blogosphere in the sense that was pointed out in the previous comment.