January 5, 2012

Book Announcement: Getting #Married

Getting #Married: Using Social Media to Celebrate the Sacred
Plowshares Publishing (2011)
Paper: 64 pgs.
Direct from Createspace. Also on Kindle.

Yes, I'm promoting my newest book here on our community's blog, but not just because it's out. I want to highlight how praying with @Virtual_Abbey helped me realize the power of using social media to celebrate the sacred. True: the decision to use social media during my recent wedding to Dan Webster (@RevWeb) was rooted in my experience with @Virtual_Abbey.

Years of sharing prayer and then lively conversation in between prayer times convinced me that virtual community is real community. I've seen relationships develop beyond tweets and end up generating emails, phone calls, and visits IRL (in real life). I've seen those relationships help everyone involved grow in faith and reverence for the sacred -- along with coffee and chocolate, of course.

And so, when Dan and I got engaged to be married, I knew I'd be tweeting about it. Dan, what a kidder, came up with the hashtag #3xCharm, because both of us were previously married. We figured Facebook would be a good place to issue invitations. (Save a tree!) The suggestion to live-stream the ceremony came from Brenda Finkle, currently on hiatus from the Prayer Team. And so forth and so on and on and on . . .

As it turned out, most of our current Prayer Team attended IRL, many meeting one another for the first time. On the morning of my wedding, Brenda Keller, editor of this blog, supervised my hair and make-up situation. Virtual Abbey founder and former Abbess Raima Larter and long-time prayer participant Penny Nash served as chalicists during Holy Communion.Our Virtual Music Director, Rob Passow, served as Cantor. I believe with all my heart and mind that this happened seamlessly because of our years sharing virtual prayer.

So why the book? You'll find more about this in Getting #Married, but I was astonished by how online tools made it possible for people to attend without schlepping to Baltimore. When I went back to review hashtagged tweets, I was further amazed by the level of participation. And as a sociologist, I couldn't help but notice how 21st century technology was helping us reclaim everything good and right about celebrating Christian life in community. Just had to write about it and Getting #Married: Using Social Media to Celebrate the Sacred is the result.

What? Doesn't everyone write a book within days of getting married? I do. And did.

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