God loves me — regardless of my Klout.

Submitted by Ralf Peter Reimann on Fri, 06/06/2014 - 17:20

-- Text of Tueday's morning chapel --


 I am working at home, daughter sees I ‘m on Facebook and says

 ”Dad, I ‘m better than you.”
"I have more friends - and your friends are not real friends, only colleagues from work"

How do we determine a person’s value? By the number of “friends” (or: contacts on Facebook)? Instead of Facebook friends, you can also insert other things: the house you built, the job you got, the money that you earn, or your friends in real life.

A second scene: My daughter uploaded a new profile picture in a social network.

After uploading she prompted her friends for comments. Within minutes, she received feedback. Fortunately, it was a lot of positive comments.

 I know that teenagers need feedback by their peer group. The internet is sometimes brutal an sometimes brutally honest. What would have happened if my daughter had not gotten any feedback at all? Would she view herself a “victim”? Would she have lost her value?

But it is not only young people who are affected by social networks

 A colleague joined Facebook. After I confirmed his fiend request, Facebook displayed a message on my screen: “N.N. has 3 friends only - help him find more friends.”

Such a looser, I thought and then I started to realize what I just had done in my mind.

What am I proud of? What I can be proud of? Who or what gives me value? Who gives me identity? Or using the language St Paul used in his epistle to the Romans, “what can I boast?”


Romans 3: Righteousness Through Faith

21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

22 This righteousness is given through faith in8 Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,9 through the shedding of his blood-to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-

26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith.

28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.


Let me repeat: “[F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

We all have sinned, I am no better than anybody else. Whether someone has three friends or three hundred friends or even three thousand friends, the number of friends does not save a person. The value God attributes to us does not depend on the number of friends I have.

God grants us justification - value - because of what Christ did for us and not because of our own achievements.

The number Facebook friends - the currency for the self-esteem of many young people - does not save us. Of course, “friends” is a placeholder, we may add other things here to fill in the blanks: professional recognition, volunteer work in the community, social prestige or whatever we may think gives value to us:

“We fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” – says St Paul.

On the other hand, whether we have three, three hundred, or three thousand friends or more, we are valuable to God because Jesus Christ saved us by grace alone.

We are justified before God because of Christ’s work and not because of what we have done.

Do you know “Klout”?

It is an online service that measures the influence or importance of a person. The Klout is measured from zero to one hundred. Someone who has no online biography, no twitter followers, has no blog, no friends who mention him on Facebook, this person has a Klout value of zero. The American President Barack Obama has a Klout close to hundred, millions see his tweets.

What is my Klout ? What is your Klout? Marketing companies attempting to introduce new products to the market try to influence opinion leaders. Free samples are given to people with a certain Klout value. For example, persons with a Klout of 50 or more receive preferential treatment and are given new products for free.

Those who have a Klout of fifty or more are leaders and valuable. If you have less you are worthless for the marketing companies.

Once you reach a certain Klout value you must work hard to maintain it.

 Don’t go on vacation and shut off your cell phone. If you stop tweeting or blogging your Klout immediately goes down.

Klout also offers the possibility to compare myself to others. I can check my Klout score against theirs.

Repudiation is probably the most valuable asset in social networks. Keeping a high Klout value is a lot of pressure. Which Klout score is sufficient? Am I good enough with 50? Or do I need more?

Martin Luther expressed Paul’s theology as the doctrine of justification. Today, we use other terminology to express the same theological concept. Instead of “righteousness” we might say “power ” or “Klout”.

But theologically, it is all the same. How can we stand before God? And be acceptable to God? Can I stand before God because of my good deeds? No. Because of my high Klout score? No. Even a Klout of 100 does not help me.

On the other hand, it is true: Even with a Klout of zero, I ‘m loved by of God.

My value does not depend on my Klout but on God justifying me. He loves me just as I am, regardless of my Klout.




Jesus: An open person

Submitted by Annegret Kapp on Fri, 06/06/2014 - 15:21

Pastor Martin Hoegger, ecumenical officer of the Reformed Church in the Canton of Vaud, preached the following sermon during the opening service of the 19th European Christian Internet Conference, at the Ecumenical Institute Bossey, 2 June 2014.

I. Jesus, the open communicator par excellence

The theme of this conference is "Open Internet, Open Church, Open Source."

I would like to meditate on that little word "open".

First and foremost about Jesus as a completely “open” person.

Jesus was open to God and open to human beings: he lived that throughout his life. We read it in the Gospels.

Certainly, there is a mystery in the person of Jesus: his relationship with the one he calls his Father. Gradually he reveals the mystery of this relationship to those he meets.

When we walk with him, he gradually also reveals us the depth of this relationship.

Let us now ask a question: when was Jesus open, at the maximum?

I think it is on the cross. I propose you to read the narrative of the crucifixion according Luke in that way. (Luke 23,32-47)

At that paradoxical moment, Jesus is open to God and to human beings: he continues to communicate with heaven and earth.

Yet it seems that heavens and earth are completely closed for Jesus.

Heaven is closed: God seems to hide and the sky turned dark.

The earth is closed: all his disciples abandoned him, the leaders insulted him, the soldiers mocked him.

Yet in that terrible moment of closing, Jesus does not retire unto himself, he remains open, he continues to communicate.

He communicates with heaven:  “Father, forgive these people! They don’t know what they’re doing”. “Father, I put myself into your hands”!

With earth: “I promise that to-day you will be with me in paradise”

Jesus needs few words to communicate. In fact Jesus communicates with his entire being, with his attitude, with his silence

This has the effect of converting the robber crucified alongside him and the Roman officer.

The first media of communication of Jesus is his person.

By choosing to incarnate himself, God chose to save us not by words, nor by a media, but by a person.

Let’s never forget that, as the medias are so powerful today: the primary means of communication is our person. The medias should never take precedence over the person. The medias are made ​​for the person, not the person for the medias.

In summary, it’s at the cross that Jesus reveals himself as the communicator par excellence. At the cross that Jesus is totally open to God and to human beings

The cross is the secret of all true communication.

II. The Holy Spirit makes us open people

Let’s turn now to our second text from the letter to the Corinthians. (1 Cor 12,3b-11)

It’s well suited for our time before Pentecost.

Paul speaks of the gift of the Holy Spirit. But what is the work of the Holy Spirit? He applies in us what Jesus lived. He bears witness to Jesus.

It therefore makes us open people, who are able to communicate, as Jesus was open and able to communicate.

The Holy Spirit opens us to heaven and earth; he brings us near to God and near to persons.

It turns us toward God: " If you are led by God’s spirit, you will say that Jesus is Lord." (v. 3)

It turns us toward our brothers and sisters in order to give them words of wisdom, to take care of them, by giving us all kinds of spiritual gifts: wisdom, healing, prophecy, etc. (v. 6ss)

Yes the Holy Spirit makes us open communicators.

May he give us to use all means of communication, especially Internet, to open ourselves to the beauty of heaven and earth!

I think that Internet is a sign of the times. As our world tends towards more openness, whether through political institutions, through the ecumenical movement or through interfaith dialogue, this powerful means of communication is made available to us. Is it not a sign of the Spirit?

The development of that media (like other medias) is a new step in the history of humanity towards more openness, more unity in diversity.  

III. How I understood that Internet should be used

When I realized this, I was delivered from a deep hesitation to use Internet.

I was not born with Internet as my seven grandchildren.

I had to train and motivate me to use Internet to communicate my work in the field of ecumenism. How did that happen?

It happened four years ago during a seminar organized by the Focolare Movement on the theme of communication.

I identified four key points that helped me to use Internet: Communication is essential to human beings. What is not disclosed is lost. Second, listening is the beginning of the communication. Third, communication must especially emphasize the positive (but we should not silence the negative) and lastly, what is important and has priority is the human person, not the medias.

These points have freed me from my hesitations, as well as what I just told you about Jesus crucified, the greatest communicator and about the Holy Spirit who brings us the style of communication of Jesus.

Shortly after, I created " Info-oecuménisme", the Information Service of the Community of Christian Churches in the Canton of Vaud, which has become one of the most important mailing of ecumenical informations in the francophone world.

Let’s therefore look to Jesus crucified, the greatest communicator, totally open to God and to human beings!

Let’s invoke the Spirit of communion, who puts in us in the impetus of the Son to the Father, and his love for all!

Keynote: Developing mobile services with the global community - perspectives on cooperation between church and university

Here is my presentation.

Power Point, Thursday 5th June.

Keynote presentation. Thursday 5th June.

Free Software: the idea, the values and where it's going

Submitted by Eveliina Ojala on Tue, 06/03/2014 - 19:56

Some thoughts:


Who of you listeners owns a mobile phone? Everyone of us are carring a small computer all the time, but question is who control this device?


Why software matters?

Because there is so many computers in every home

If you don’t believe, count the amount of computers in your home…

 There is software almost “everywhere”, t.ex. fridge, there can be software inside the nowadays fridge

All these computers run by softwares.

Who control softwares controls computers.


Free software gives you four freedoms.

- freedom of use

- freedom to use or study and to understand the code

- freedom to share software

- freedom to improve


The history of free software started 1983 with practical problem; how this printer works and could it work better?


Knowledge of coding give possibility to make you own applications based on other works. 


Free softwares t.ex.:

- gimp

- firefox

- wikipedia à idea: sharing knowledge

- google

- linux


Free software is usually based on lisences like Common Creatives.


How free software works?

 Study, share and use the program as you want à  Licences say what is right and when you go to a wrong side of the law. 

Data vs. metadata

- data shows what you say and metadata says what you do.


Free software is more political than techical question.


Technology gives us possibilities. It allows many things, but not all are good.


There is no such thing as free lunch:

t.ex. facebook and google knows exactly what you are doing in internet. This is because when you visit in the net page where is facebook “like” button, facebook will register it even you don’t press the button. They make money of it.

When you use google, you sell your privacy. Be aware of that.


Good to realise what you write stays in the net.

“One day they arrested me and they showed me everything. They showed me a list of all my phone calls and they played a conversation I had with my brother. They arrested me because we talked about politics on the phone. It was the first phone I ever owned and I thought I could finally talk freely.”

-former member of an Oromo opposition party in Ethiopia, now a refugee in Kenya. May 2013.


In conclusion


à let’s try to find new ways to act freely in this new environment. 


Questions to discuss:

What is open data of the Church?

What we can share with people so that they can make applications?

Open internet, open church? New community structures in the global church

Submitted by Poul Bo Sørensen on Tue, 06/03/2014 - 00:29

Opening Keynote: Open internet, open church? New community structures in the global church - Roger Schmidt, Digital Encounters (Hexagone)


Roger Schmidt took us for a tour de force of the history of the internet.

1.        In the beginning the Internet is used as an Information Superhighway. Information in large scale is retrievable through the Internet.

2.        The next step defines the Internet as the social web. No longer is the Internet a network of information, but of everybody. Everybody are able to connect and share. Everybody can participate.

3.        The present age. Internet of Everything. Everything is connected. We are all having our mobiles connected etc. Connections are no big deal anymore.


The advantages are many, but is the Internet only progress. Roger Schmidt mentioned four areas, where we think we are free, but the freedom can be questioned. (From the book Digital Freedom Traps by Werner Thiede.


1.        Political freedom trap. Are we free or are political systems and major companies retaking the freedom given by the Internet.


2.        Ecological freedom trap. Use of paper can be avoided, but whar about IPhone trash. Damage of radiowaves etc.


3.        Life-practical freedom trap. Freedom from certain places is perhaps also a trap as we have to check Facebook, emails etc. allways.


4.        Spiritual freedom trap. We are trying to give people online pastoral care, but we are losing connections.


From these reflections Roger Schmidt continued to reflect on, what are the conceptual place of the church in the internet age.

The church are defined by what it is doing. This is defined by three theological keywords. 1. Kerygma. 2. Leiturgia. 3. Koinonia. 4. Diakonia. The Church is, what it does.

The first definition of the church of old age is from the apostles creed:

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. There is only one church. To be a member is to join this one church.

In the age of the Reformation the protestant church kept the notion of the church being one, but interpret the one church as the local parish church. The consequence is, that the local church doesn’t need anyone else.

But eventually came a longing for a wider conception of the church. The longing began at the time of the imperialistic age of Europe. Storries where told of heathens, missionaries travelled to preach, and Christian congregations were born. But it was distant. Along the technological revolution the possibility to meet was a reality. And Christian leaders were enthusiastic, as formulated by Jogn R. Mott: “Organising the global church has never been so easy. You can be anywhere in the world in three weeks by steemboat.”

Churches connected. WCC was founded. The local church can connect to the global church.

But still fellowship is limited. How much are communities able to travel? How many members take reel interest? Only rich people can afford to travel.To many Christians the local church remains their only need.


The thesis of Roger Schmidt was that we for that reason need to approach a definition of the church as para-local. The means, that the church is rooted and serving in a particular context butat the same time connected to the universal church. It thinks of itself as  holy church but not as the whole church.

So: How does the para-local church use the internet?


Roger Schmidts approach is his project described on his homepage:


“The Internet is offering new possibilities for churches and Christians around the world to get into closer contact, to learn from each other, to serve jointly and to pray together. Digital Encounters is developing new methodologies with and for the global church to do just that. And you can make it happen wherever you are. Let’s work together.”

For further investigation visit the homepage.

Only two weeks left until ECIC starts in Bossey near Geneva

There is expectation in the air. Only two weeks left until the 19th European Christian Internet Conference starts.

Webpastors, webworkers and webdevelopers will meet from 2-5 June at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, near Geneva. We are looking forward to inspiring networking, new ideas and interesting discussions. 

Registration is now closed.  If you were planning to join the conference, but haven't registered yet, please write to to check whether you can still participate.

The topic of the conference will be "Open Internet, Open Church, Open Source".

Please check out our programme and our speakers

If you have already registered and have questions, please be patient. You will shortly receive an e-mail about some practicalities.