Reflections on technology scripture engagement and language development introduced Wayne Dye’s “Eight conditions for scripture engagement”. Since that article was first published in 2009 hundreds more Bibles, New Testaments, and Scripture portions have been made available online, in print audio and video forms.
Digital publishing brings huge opportunities for access, and for not only getting a message out, but in many contexts for creating dialogue and community.
But publishing alone does not guarantee that Scriptures will be accessed and engaged with. Here is a brief reworking of the eight conditions with a focus on digital products and strategies:
- Appropriate written, spoken and visual language- Is your main content in the appropriate language? If you are using a language of wider communication for your interface is that acceptable or a barrier?
For audio/visual media are your audio and visuals culturally appropriate? Where do they add to your message where do they detract?
- Appropriate Translation – not just the words and meanings, but visuals, and design elements (eg right to left menus as well as text, checking video products created from a western worldview, soundtracks being less universal than thought.)
- Accessible forms of digital Scripture correct video region, operating system, online or offline sharing, factoring common screen sizes, exploring appropriate media eg comics, style of illustrations, offline content downloadable in different formats.
- Background Knowledge of the Hearer – For scripture this would include existing knowledge of Bible, culture, other worldviews. For tech add do they know how to operate the tech, do they know what they should and should not share, how media literate are they, do they regularly watch other western media and how do they interpret that – what extra information needs to be provided and how.
- Availability – Online or offline – Can they find it? Can they download it? Can they share it? Legal and physical restrictions. File sizes, download time and cost, possibility to adapt and incorporate.
- Spiritual Hunger of Community Members – How ‘hungry’ may determine how hard you have to work. Hungry doesn’t mean they will recognise that what you offer is food.
- Freedom to Commit to Christian Faith – Is it okay, uncool, or blasphemous? How will this affect how you promote and how freely your audience can openly own or share resources. How much do you require contact details and tracking? How much does your usage data put people at risk? Will being associated with you or your product/agency on social media put someone at risk?
- Partnership Between Translators and other Stakeholders – Partnership between producers of digital media and other stake holders. Are you producing materials for people, producing materials with people, serving and equipping people to reproduce or produce fresh material themselves.
So there are some thoughts. Do they fit your own context? Are some more applicable than others? As this is online you are welcome to comment, tweet, post, reblog, share, affirm, disagree, or expand on further in a blog of your own. I look forward to engagement about Digital Engagement.
For the original Eight Conditions article and further resources see: