Media & Press Media - Text

[MEDIA] Blog for @YouBelong_2019 on ‘Knowing God’ (and names)

I met Laura at the Premier Digital Conference 2019, and we got chatting. Earlier this year she sent me a list of questions, and (for once in my life) I didn’t overthink the answers. The response to the first question:

1) What is your name and what does it mean? 

My name is Bex, short for Rebecca, which apparently means ‘servant of God’ in Hebrew, although a mug I have also says that it means ‘bound’, as in ‘bound to do what is right’, and an online site says it could mean any of: tying firmly; fastening; binding; noosed cord; captivating; snare; beauty that ensnares, grace that enraptures. Online you’ll typically find me @drbexl.

Read the full interview.


[QUESTION] What is Spiritual Formation (in a digital age)? #Surveillance

As I can never find Facebook posts again when I want them, I saved some of the thoughts that are helping trigger a presentation in Edinburgh shortly, on spiritual formation and any kind of awareness of surveillance online. I noted that the responses may be made public, if anonymised!

  1. What do you understand by spiritual formation?
  2. Would you say that social media has impacted on this at all?
  3. Does the fact that others are ‘observing what you are doing’ make any difference?
  • This online article was helpful reading: Towards a Biblical Definition of Spiritual Formation: Romans 12:1-2
  • The result of spiritual disciplines? Social media has, for me, made any self discipline (spiritual or otherwise) more of a struggle.
    And talking about it online (are you including blogs as social media? I’m not sure I would…) does allow a broader community of involvement.
  • When I was part of a Christian Church, we had a nice Minister/Vicar (can’t remember which brand he was) who gave a great talk to the youth about wearing masks, and growing to be like the mask. He, obviously, advocated for wearing the mask of a good Christian, “pretending” to be better than we were, and aiming to grow in to the role. It had the advantage of bearing better witness whilst also allowing you to grow.
    I am not sure that I see much of that on social media, to be honest, but maybe I notice the negatives – those who are behaving in a Christian way are much less likely to be noticed.
  • The bit I would comment on is the ‘people are watching’. As a curate it didn’t trouble me too much, but as a ‘responsible for parish’ Rector I am much more aware that what I say and do is under scrutiny. I’ve stopped blogging partly because of lack of time, and partly because the situations I might blog about are easily identified by those involved, their friends, relations and neighbours. We get enough local spats on social media without me inadvertently adding to them.

What do you understand by spiritual formation?
– maturing as a Christian
– it’s a journey which never ends
– it’s part of who we are rather than something we do
– includes prayer and bible study, questioning and exploring yourself and your beliefs, worshipping and listening, intentionally being with God in the every day of life

Would you say that social media has impacted on this at all?
– yes: social media has allowed the world to become smaller. This means I’ve been able to explore wider, ask further and question more than if I was limited to my church, family, friends and people I meet in every day life. Social media allowed my spiritual formation to take off.
– and no: God is the leader of my spiritual formation and He will always find a way which works.
– but yes: social media has made it so much easier than it would otherwise have been. Geography is a limiting factor to spiritual formation, especially in disability (and poverty) and social media has removed that limit.

Does the fact that others are ‘observing what you are doing’ make any difference?
– not for me though I’m sure it does for others
– God is observing me all the time and is the only one that really matters in my spiritual formation
– but….. I feel that part of my spiritual formation is to share what I believe and why and how; and I’m sure that God uses my blog and social media engagement to help others now and in the future (it lasts forever once online).

could also be do you self-observe, or using the theorist I’m using ‘self-regulate’ your behaviour?
– I am me and is become abundantly clear over the years that I can’t hide that online any more than I can in real life. I don’t pretend to be anything other than I am, warts and all, and I’ve seen that God uses it all for good.

Other responses included the definition as the ‘never-ending’ ‘journey that we are on to become mature in our faith’, which can include ‘earthquake like tremors that quickly and fundamentally shape our faith’, but also ‘the small incremental drip drip that intentionally or not changes who we are and how we express that’. It is ‘part of who we are rather than something we do’, and ‘includes prayer and bible study, questioning and exploring yourself and your beliefs, worshipping and listening, intentionally being with God in the every day of life’.


Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

Digital Event Life(style)

ASREC: Propaganda with a Mission: Learning from the Second World War for the Christian Sector in a Digital Age

Today’s conference paper for ASREC (Association for Religion, Economics and Culture), held at Durham University.

Digital Speaker

[SPEAKER] Social Media Identity, at @RevConf13

This morning’s session:

Social media Identity from Bex Lewis
Academic Digital

Growing Churches in the Digital Age


I’ve just had a commissioned piece published on the Church of England’s Church Growth Research & Development Blog. Here’s the start:

For many churchgoing is no longer the ‘cultural norm’. People don’t actively ignore the church: they don’t even think about it. Matthew 5:13-16 calls us to be salt and light in the world, and for thousands in the ‘digital age’, that world includes social networks such Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest. With literally billions in the digital spaces, the online social spaces presented by churches need to be appealing, welcoming, and not look like they are just an afterthought: they are now effectively the ‘front door’ to your church for digital users, and you ignore those spaces at your peril.

Read the full piece.