Today's post is by UM & Global blogmaster Dr. David W. Scott, Assistant Professor of Religion and Pieper Chair of Servant Leadership at Ripon College.
Upper Room Ministries, a division of Discipleship Ministries (formerly the General Board of Discipleship) has recently launched a new website called Moyoliving.org. Moyo is designed as an interactive tool for young adults interested in connecting spirituality and social justice.
The main component of Moyo is a series of "guided paths" that incorporate a short video, a written spiritual reflection, and a series of suggested action steps around a central theme. The themes revolve around global social justice issues and associated aspects of spirituality. Currently there are three themes: "Race & Image of the Divine," "Water & Restoration of Life," and "Disaster & Human Dignity." More themes will be added as the site progresses.
In addition to the guided paths, there are also a series of blog posts categorized under "The Feed." Most of these posts relate to one of the themes as well. There are also a series of "Resources," which appear to be guided spiritual reflections not necessarily related to one of the themes.
Here are some quick take-aways after an initial exploration of Moyoliving.org:
1. Upper Room is to be commended for trying a new format to encourage young people to engage spiritually. Technology is always a risky business, so there's certainly no guarantee that Moyoliving.org will catch on, but that's no excuse to stick to business as usual. Upper Room is trying to adapt to new technology to continue to connect with evolving audiences.
2. The combination of global social issues and spirituality is both potentially a very attractive one to young adults, who are interested in an engaged faith, and a distinctively Wesleyan approach to faith and the world. I think this is a great approach to developing a mission-oriented spirituality.
3. The specific topics Moyo has chosen are important and relevant.
1. Moyo claims it is a "global organization," but it also appears to have been developed with American young adults and the associated challenge of secularization in mind. This dual audience (global and American youth) may prevent Moyo from reaching one or both segments of its audience.
2. The site is a bit busy for my taste, and it is not immediately apparent how one is supposed to interact with it, though that can easily be discovered with a bit of exploring.
Ways in which readers might want to use the site:
1. As a collection of resources for students, mission groups, or others looking to learn about specific justice topics related to mission. While these resources are designed to be used individually, there's really no reason why they couldn't be used by groups as well.
2. By submitting materials. Moyo is looking for submissions, and this can be a good opportunity for UM Professors of Mission and other mission leaders to help shape the conversation and spirituality surrounding justice topics for young United Methodists and others.