Always On: Practicing Faith in a New Media Landscape

We Have a Great Desire to Populate Heaven

  •  Summation of the book

Always On: practicing faith in a new media landscape (2019), by Angela W. Gorrell, an assistant professor of practical theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University. According to Dr. Gorrell, new media spaces can be instruments of God’s unconditional love. However, they can also present harmful conditions and become sources of anxiety and jealousy. This book provides our generation with valuable tools for helping students and congregants understand the world of social media and engage it faithfully while enabling the Christian communities to address its use constructively. Dr. Gorrell invites the community of faith to take a different look at the new media spaces and devices.

  • Reaction to its central argument(s)

The internet that housed this new media space that Dr. Gorrell is talking about is a breakthrough for the Christian faith and our world if it is carefully used. She correctly pointed out that these media spaces can be instruments of God’s unreserved love. But on the flip side, they can also present harmful conditions to us and become sources of all kinds of problems. This is one of the reasons why her work is a valuable book to read; instead of looking at the new media spaces negatively, Christians need to take a second look. We should look the other way around; there was no internet during the Old Testament and to the Lord Jesus Christ days; therefore, there were no social medial spaces. No one could have followers without your physical presence or doing something dramatic that caused your news to spread, like when Jesus healed the demon-possessed man (Mark 5:1-20). Or when David killed Goliath in 1 Samuel 17, etc. On the other hand, due to the increase in medial spaces, we make people we have never seen follow us; that is the power of social media. This power can be misused if not treated right. I thank the new media landscape that Dr. Gorrell talked about should be used as a tool, but not a master. If it is a tool, we will use it to push our below gospel to this lost world as the Lord Jesus Christ commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). Or used it to be witnesses of Jesus in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth without even stepping there (Acts 1:8). However, if it becomes our master, it will dictate to us, and use us as tools, causing all kinds of problems, for example, depression, anxiety, the lust of the flesh, etc.

  • Key insights that you will incorporate in your ministry.

According to Dr. Gorrell, most of our online activities result from our desire to connect. Many of our online engagements are to view other people’s posts on social media, but she warned us not to respond to all the posts that come our way (P.14). I took this insight very seriously because people have depression, anxiety, and all kinds of problems because they feel compared us to respond to every post every minute. So, for safety, Dr. Gorrell suggested that there should be a media rule for life, a plan involving rituals and routines. Personal rules and community rules should govern the new media landscape (P.152). One of these rules should be that social media or the internet should not replace the local church. This is critical because our physical gathering helps us connect to God, and His Spirit moves among us powerfully.


Gorrell, W., A. (2019). Always On: practicing faith in a new media landscape.