[WRITER] Chapter on ‘The Digital Age’ in Pastoral Challenges & Concerns: A Christian Handbook for Leaders

There was a nice surprise in my pigeon hole at work today. Before I left Durham (in 2015), I had written the first draft of a chapter on ‘The Digital Age’ for what was to be the second edition of ‘The Christian Handbook of Abuse, Addiction and Difficult Behaviour‘. With new chapters which didn’t really fit that remit, the title was renamed. The book was finally published by Kevin Mayhew at the end of 2018, and I’ve just received my copy.

Here’s the contents page, so you can get an overview of the content:

Here’s the first page of my chapter:

And if you want to know more about all the authors:

Academic Digital Writer

[WRITER/ACADEMIC] Article Acceptance for High-Ranking @SurvSoc_Journal

Really pleased to hear that the journal article that I’ve been working on over the past year has had it’s final edits accepted, and should be published (open access) later in the year in Surveillance and Society Journal (I’ll likely share then too).

Social Media, Peer Surveillance, Spiritual Formation and Mission: Practicing Christian Faith in a Surveilled Public Space

By 2018, social media has become a part of everyday life, including the faith lives of many. It is a space that assumes an observed gaze. Engaging with Foucauldian notions of surveillance, self-regulation, and normalization, this paper considers what it is about social and digital culture that shapes expectations of what users can, or want, to do in online spaces. It reflects upon what ‘surveillance’ looks like within social media, especially when users understand themselves to be observed in the space, drawing upon a wide range of surveillance research. Recognising moral panics around technological development, the paper considers the development of social norms, and questions how self-regulation by users presents itself within a global population. Focusing upon the spiritual formation of Christian users (disciples) in an online environment as a case study of a community of practice, the paper draws particularly upon the author’s experiences online since 1997, and material from The Big Bible Project (2010-2015). The research demonstrates how the lived experience of the individual establishes the interconnectedness of the online and offline environments. The surveillant affordances and context collapse are liberating for some users, but restricting for others, in both their faith formation, and the subsequent imperative to mission.

This paper was developed from the presentation I gave at the AHRC Religion and Surveillance Network in Edinburgh last spring (you can see some associated content on the tag ‘surveillance‘). I started this paper after discussions with Prof Dom Medway at Manchester Met’s writing retreat last summer, and seemed to be doing well on it, when cancer rudely interrupted. Once work gave me the go-ahead to undertake study leave (as and when I felt well enough, mixed with sick leave), and with a little help:

Thanks to delegates at the AHRC Religions Consuming Surveillance Workshop, Edinburgh, (March 2017) for feedback on initial ideas, many of which were drawn from work undertaken for CODEC at the University of Durham (especially The Big Bible Project), colleagues at Manchester Metropolitan University for conversations and space to write, especially Cathy Urquhart and Dominic Medway for feedback upon drafts, and to the initial journal reviewers, who have made this a much stronger piece. I also thank those who gave me permission to quote conversations from social media, and the Women in Academia Support Network on Facebook for encouragement, especially Nadia von Benzon for early editorial input and feedback. I also appreciate my medical team at Stepping Hill Hospital and The Christie for enabling me to continue this whilst undergoing cancer treatment.

I submitted a full draft of the article the evening before chemotherapy (1 December), heard on 12 March 2018 that it had been accepted, but required some further work. I left it til chemo was finished, then worked on it whilst waiting for/undergoing radiotherapy, and re-submitted 13 May 2018. Today I received an email indicating that those edits have been accepted, and the work will be published in a special edition later this year. It’s been tough doing it amongst the chemo/radiotherapy side effects (including brainfog/fatigue), but certainly gave me something to focus on other than cancer!

It’s not on the ABS List (which all business schools aim for), but is in the top quartile for ‘Urban Studies’ and ‘Safety Research’ on Scimargo (so equivalent 3* or more):

SCImago Journal & Country Rank

Or you can see this tweet from the journal:

Media & Press Writer

[MEDIA] Yes, Children Under 13 Should be Allowed on Social Media, with @YCWMag

I love the team at Youth and Children’s Work Magazine, so was happy to step in and put forward my (carefully constructed) arguments as to why children under 13 should be allowed on social media. I suspect you’ll find that Justin Humphreys (CCPAS) and I actually don’t really disagree!

Premier will send you a free copy of the magazine if you’ve not had it before – it’s got loads of ideas for children’s and youthworkers in the church.


[WRITER] The book ARRIVES! #KeepCalmandCarryOn

It’s a thrill that never really gets less exciting! You know you’ve written the text, seen various edits and temporary layouts, but to actually hold THE BOOK in your hands is very exciting – and my ‘complimentary copy’ arrived from the Imperial War Museum today! I’m tired, my body is fighting the infections, but the book is HERE!

You can buy from the Imperial War Museum or Amazon, or all the usual outlets officially from 26th October – excellent stocking filler if I do say so myself! Or I’ll stock up on a few if people want to buy, ahem, signed copies!


[WRITER] Chapter in Theologians and Philosophers Using Social Media with @thomasjayoord

I wrote a chapter in a new book, Theologians and Philosophers Using Social Media: Advice, Tips, and Testimonials edited by Dr. Thomas Jay Oord – awaiting my copy, but here are the triggering questions:  

  1. What forms of social media/platforms do you use, and which forms are primary?
  2. Why did you begin using social media in relation to your scholarly interests, publication, or teaching? Is this the same reason you continue to use social media?
  3. What have you been surprised to discover or learn when using social media?
  4. Describe a great idea, conceptual breakthrough, or interesting project that emerged through or because of your using social media?
  5. How do you manage your time and other obligations in relation to time spent on social media?
  6. What three things would you recommend to scholars considering using social media?
  7. Other thoughts?

I’m looking forward to seeing what others have written – and here is the blurb if you are interested in buying a copy

Book Description:

The insights in these 90+ essays are nothing short of inspiring! Their tips on best practices for social engagement, time management, social media as a resource for scholarship or creativity, technology and pedagogy, etc. will help readers tremendously.

The contributors are diverse. They include….

– Public theologians like Ben Corey, Brian McLaren, and Richard Rohr

– Younger scholars like Tripp Fuller, Jorey Micah, and Alexis Waggoner

– Biblical scholars like Michael Gorman, Joel Green, and Daniel Kirk

– Philosophers like Helen De Cruz, Aaron Simmons, and Kevin Timpe

– Establish scholars like James Crossley, Kwok Pui-lan, and Amos Yong

– Scholars outside North America like Deane Galbraith, RT Mullins, Hanna Reichel, and Atle Sovik

– Pastoral theologians like Patricia Farmer, Len Sweet, and Kurt Willems

– Historical theologians like Kim Alexander and Christine Helmer

– Science and religion scholars like Ron Cole-Turner, Karl Giberson, Lea Schweitz, and Jim Stump

– Constructive theologians like Oliver Crisp, Grace Ji-Sun Kim, and Jason Lepojärvi

– Ethicists like Miguel De La Torre, David Gushee, and Michael Hardin

…and the list goes on!

Whether the reader is an armchair theologian, a professional scholar, a graduate student, or simply interested in how social media is changing religious and philosophical studies, that reader will find Theologians and Philosophers Using Social Media of great help.

Of interest to those engaged with: pedagogy, religious education, philosophy, religion, theology, Christian education, activism, online education, Facebook, moocs, technology, social media

About the Author:

Thomas Jay Oord is a theologian, philosopher, and scholar of multi-disciplinary studies. He is an award-winning author, having written or edited more than twenty books. A twelve-time Faculty Award winner, Oord teaches at institutions around the globe. A gifted speaker, he is known for his contributions to research on love, open and relational theology, science and religion, and the implications of freedom and relationships for transformation. Find more on Oord’s thoughts and projects at