Toward an Asian Feminist Theology of Human Connectivity
Pope Benedict XVI, in his 43rd World Day of Communications Message (2009), notes how new
digital technologies are “bringing about
fundamental shifts in patterns of communication and human relationships.”
He also expresses the need for us to learn more about this world
in order to evangelize it: “In the early life of the Church, the great Apostles
and their disciples brought the Good News of Jesus to the Greek and Roman
world. Just as at that time, a fruitful evangelization required that
careful attention be given to understanding the culture and customs of those …
peoples so that the truth of the gospel would touch their hearts and minds, so
also today, the proclamation of Christ in the world of new technologies
requires a profound knowledge of this world if the technologies are to serve
our mission adequately.”
Computer mediated information technologies (CMIT) such as mobile phones and the internet, have
become the new Areopagus (Acts 17: 22-34) where like Paul, we too
can proclaim the good news. However, more than simply a site of evangelization like
Areopagus, CMIT possess great potential as a means of evangelization.
Though computer-mediated communication is a phenomenon of post-industrial societies, its use
has now rapidly spread to the developing world. Asia, composed of tiger and
emerging economies, is both a big producer and consumer of CMIT. However,
access is still not uniform, and CMIT have widened the gap between the ‘haves’
and the ‘have-nots’ with far reaching consequences.
Used as tools of advocacy the internet and mobile phone have tremendous capacity to help the anawim of our times, garnering support
and strength from across the globe. While
issues can be addressed with urgency and efficiency however, e-relationships
devoid of human touch, visual stimuli and emotional response run the risk of
being superficial, one dimensional and virtual.
Within the home CMIT have redefined family life and values, challenging the role of authority figures,
including parents and the Church. With the new windows open to the outside world
the ‘family as a domestic church’ may need to be re-defined.
Conscious of the challenge of this new “sign of the times,” the Ecclesia of Women in Asia conference (EWA V) scheduled
to be held in the second half of 2011, invites paper presenters and
participants to reflect theologically on the emerging "wired culture"
in the context of Asia and from a feminist perspective. Among possible areas of theological
reflections are: cyber-relationships, cyber-pornography, call centres, virtual
parishes/diocese/e-church, virtual education, cyber-counselling, impact
of CMIT on migrants, rural population, elderly, disabled, domestic helpers,
religious life, women, theologians, etc.
Cyberspace: Space created by the internet
Wired: Connected to a telecommunications network, especially the internet
Information superhighway: Includes mobile phones and internet.