Saturday, December 20, 2008

Preacher Man

As the controversy brews about Obama's choice of anti-gay marriage pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at the presidential inauguration, I thought it might be useful to look at the digital media-making efforts of Warren and his church and the digital rhetoric strategies that they deploy to reach audiences who might not necessarily be otherwise attracted to his mega-church.

In particular, it is worth noting that Warren has announced the launch of Purpose Driven Connection, a "Christian social networking site" undertaken in association with Reader's Digest. Certainly his Internet presence shows familiarity with the "vlog" solo talking head format, complete with abrupt cuts in the footage, as he indicates in videos such as "How to Make a Marriage Work."

Warren's wife Kay Warren also has a carefully crafted online media persona that emphasizes her career as a nurse in connection with the church's HIV/AIDS mission.

There are also a number of virtual tours of Warren's church at Saddleback Family, where the physical space is presented as a site for intergenerational fun and social interchange.

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