As one national tragedy follows another, the ubiquitous Twitter prayer meme—the most recent in the aftermath of the tornados in Oklahoma (#PrayForOklahoma)—continues to attract attention from media religion-watchers. I spoke this week to CNN Belief Blog co-editor Daniel Burke about the phenomenon as a marker of changing American religiosity:

The social-media sparring over prayer and God’s will reflect a culture in which traditional notions of religion – and the places where people talk about faith – are changing faster than a Twitter feed, said Drescher, the Santa Clara lecturer.

“We’re watching people re-articulate what it means to be spiritual and religious,” she said.

The full story is here.

While not specifically focused on the spiritual practice of prayer, a recent story I wrote for Religion Dispatches on a the response of a village church in Western New York to an act of vandalism highlights the negotiation of religious meaning in public spaces. I suggest that Grace Episcopal Church, Rudolph takes seriously the built church itself as social media, engaging creatively and compassionately with a local tagger, effecting its own “conversion” to new ways of being church:

But the bigger conversion, it seems to me, is of a small church in a world of changing, arguably declining, religiosity recognizing that the main currents of religious and spiritual meaning-making flow outside its doors. It’s the story of a fairly traditional church actively recognizing that religious doubt, religious critique, and all manner of theological questioning that once would have been seen as belonging squarely within the clapboard walls of a village church unfold in a much wider, much more broadly networked universe.

The initial story is available here. It turns out that, “after school special style,” the family of the tagger approached the church to make restitution on behalf of their son. A follow-up piece is in the works.

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