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Hallo again to all.

It is almost the end of the secular year. It is a few days past Anglicans Online's 13th birthday (we first published on 27 December 1994). It is customary at this time to reflect on the past, to bask in the warm glow of nostalgia and to toast the future.

A couple of days ago we saw something, and captured it in a photograph, that made us realize just how much the year 2008 will be different from the world of 13 years ago in which Anglicans Online began. Basically AO began because Tod Maffin realized that this new medium of the World Wide Web, which he knew how to use, could link Anglicans who otherwise might never have anything to say to one another.

One unfortunate side effect of improved global communications is that people far away in different cultures are more aware of you and your culture and often don't like what they see. Try to imagine the global conflicts in the Anglican Communion taking place in a world without satellite television, global newspapers, and internet.

The picture below shows four young women, all in their early twenties, watching a YouTube video on an iPhone. Two of the four are cradle Anglicans, and the other two are their childhood friends. They are huddling around a propane heater in a cold warehouse, entertaining themselves with mobile-phone video while their parents talk and drink coffee and eat hors d'oeuvre. They are more or less transfixed by what they see and hear on the little iPhone; it was clear that they considered the watching of a video on an iPhone to be a completely ordinary (and fulfilling) thing.

Leslie, Elizabeth, Tiffany and Vanessa watch a YouTube video on an iPhone

Perhaps it's because we've been writing Anglicans Online for so many years, but when we saw this, our first thought was not to wonder what they are watching, it was to realize that most of the leaders of the Anglican church still haven't learned how to use what are soon going to be 'previous-generation media', such as the internet and satellite television, and here we are clearly at the beginning of the next one. We've watched as 'church communicators' proudly defend their newsletters and mailings while, for example, Al Jazeera wins the hearts of millions worldwide by understanding how to use these media.

It was William Gladstone who coined the phrase 'Justice delayed is justice denied' that most people seem to attribute to Martin Luther King Jr, who certainly said it too. Dr King also in a speech once said 'A right delayed is a right denied'. We think that the principle generalizes: anything delayed is ultimately denied. Seeing those young women watching their mobile-phone video made us understand that the delay by organized Anglicanism in responsible use of current communications media has now actually become its denial.

(Note, added several hours after publication: the Archbishop of Canterbury has just announced that he will release a New Year's message on YouTube.)

See you next week. Right here at And we've bought an iPhone.

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Last updated: 30 December 2007

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