If you're planning a New Year's resolution to dig deeper into your religion, challenge traditional dogma or inject some faith-based humor into 2014, the Internet is your oyster.
But where to start? Twitter feeds. Podcasts. Phone apps. Vlogs. Bazillions of websites. The blogosphere bustle. Oh my.
With so many options out there, we asked a varied lot of local folks - from the orthodox to the atheist - their favored stops along the electronic superhighway.
The Rev. John Zahl Associate priest, Grace Episcopal Church
Mockingbird is the best thing going as far as Christian social commentary is concerned.
Led by my brother, an amazing two-man staff and huge group of contributors (mostly youngish clergy), Mbird.com offers nonstop commentary on pop culture, high culture and some social sciences.
I'm a big fan of Nadia Bolz-Weber, whose recent book "Pastrix" put her on radar screens. Her site says she has "done more than any other pastor in recent times to poke therapeutic fun at the misdemeanors and flaws of overly churched Christianity and Christians." Enough said.
Honorable mention goes to The Dish blog, which is not perhaps technically Christian, even though Andrew Sullivan is a devout Catholic. His appreciation for Pope Francis is especially insightful. Plus, he's a master of gauging the spiritual pulse of current culture.
Blogger, rabbi's wife and Judaic coordinator, Addlestone Hebrew Academy
Jew in the City
This blog is written by Allison Joseph, who served as actress Mayim Bialik's inspiration and mentor for Judaism. On her blog/vlog, Allison shares her approach as to how the modern man and woman can find meaning in Judaism while pursuing their dreams. Includes interviews from well-known practicing Jews such as Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Jewish sports stars and others.
The Times of Israel
This online news service includes a large blog section from a cross-section of Jewish affiliations and locales. Bloggers write about issues concerning Israeli and American politics, Jewish philosophical issues and personal anecdotes. A great way to stay in tune with Jewish events and issues being discussed in Jewish homes across the globe.
Filmmaker and producer of "Dominion: Media Matters"
@DeVon Franklin on Twitter
DeVon Franklin is a rarity: an African-American author and studio executive at Columbia Tristar Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment. He also is an ordained minister who balances Hollywood and his Christian ideals.
<URL destination="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/elevation-app/id427622219?mt=8">Elevation App
My favorite mobile app is the free Elevation App from Charlotte's Elevation Church. It contains blogs and sermon podcasts by Pastor Steven Furtick, a Moncks Corner native whose church is among the Top 10 fastest-growing in the U.S.
The Rev. Jon Davis
Campus minister, Charleston Southern University
Always in step with cultural needs. Pastor Steven Furtick does an excellent job of engaging the culture with excellence, relevance and power.
Leonard Sweet is the undisputed leader in unpacking culture and society from a Christian worldview. Literally, he is five years ahead of the Christian commu- nity.
</URL>Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, is many things but he is not is behind the times. He watches, deciphers and even gives you future trends in the culture. A bright mind with great insights.
Associate director of vocations, Catholic Diocese of South Carolina
Favorite people to follow on Twitter and websites are:
Rome Reports on Twitter
Keep up with what's happening in the Vatican, especially with Pope Francis. Also great on Instagram (romereports).
Pope Francis on Twitter
We are called to follow Christ, so follow the appointed leader of his church.
Word on Fire
Father Robert Barron tackles topics from movies to music to literature to world events. His commentary is insightful, thought-provoking and helps you see things a little deeper and a little differently.
Blogger, teacher and freelance journalist
My favorite faith-based people to follow on Twitter are:
Khalid Latif, @KLatif, a Muslim university chaplain for NYU.
Lee Weissman, @JihadiJew, a Jewish educator and blogger.
Suhaib Webb, @ImamSuhaibWebb, the imam at the Islamic Society of Boston.
Yasmin Mogahed, @YasminMogahed, a Muslim educator and speaker.
Hind Makki, @HindMakki, an interfaith educator and blogger from Chicago.
Executive director, Alliance For Full Acceptance, former Catholic priest
Emily Timbol's writing always stretches my capacity to hope. Emily is a straight ally of the LGBT community who weaves humor and compassion into each post. She writes with a "no-nonsense" approach to faith. I often find myself asking, "Why didn't I think of that?"
The Rev. Jeremy Rutledge is our pastor, and he consistently challenges my understanding of the Gospel. He also stretches me, calling me to see God in places and persons I would ordinarily have missed. His writing is often the place where I get the opportunity to see my world through other eyes.
From Where I Stand
The writing of Benedictine nun Joan Chittister routinely teaches me more about the church in which I was raised. She is critical of her church communion in the best sense of the word, arguing for the Roman Catholic Church to be the best it can be.
The Very Rev. Peet Dickson
Dean and rector, Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul
Moore to the Point
Dr. Russell Moore's blog is great for reading about the link between faith and culture in a winsome and yet challenging way. I highly recommend his books, too.
The Gospel Coalition Voices
I like just about any of the blogs associated with the Gospel Coalition. These are thoughtful writers helping us to see the world through the lens of the Gospel.
Doggie Head Tilt
</URL>I really enjoy Mike Metzger of the Clapham Institute's blog and its clever name, Doggie Head Tilt. His entries get your mind whirring the way you know a dog is doing when he looks at you and tilts his head.
Washington Post contributor and retired College of Charleston professor
Secular Coalition for America
</URL>@seculardotorg on Twitter
This advocacy organization amplifies and publicizes the diverse and growing voice of the atheist and humanist community.
Hemant Mehta's popular blog features articles by Hemant and others about issues important to atheists and humanists around the country.
Humanist Network News
This publication of the American Humanist Association strives to bring about a progressive society where being good without a god is an accepted and respected way to live life.
Father John Parker
Pastor of Holy Ascension Orthodox Church in Mount Pleasant
Ancient Faith Radio
By far my favorite faith-based media site, this is a combination podcast site and online radio station. The blogs cover a remarkable range of topics, all related to living the early Christian/ancient Christian faith today.
Speaking the Truth in Love
These are my absolute favorite podcasts because Father Thomas Hopko addresses difficult questions such as secular religion in America and an Orthodox assessment of Evangelicalism. He also offers both practical and historical podcasts. He is simply the best teacher of the dogmas of Christianity in North America.
Glory to God for All Things
Father Stephen Freeman is a South Carolina native who pastors St. Anne's in Oak Ridge, Tenn. His writing is heart piercing. It is not complicated, but it is profoundly moving and thought-provoking. He also has an ancientfaith.com podcast.
Art teacher and Christian cartoon creator
Youth Ministry Media on Twitter
Youth Ministry Media's Twitter account allows pastors to communicate ministry ideas to teenagers.
Christian Film Database
This website allows Christians to find all types of Christian movies. It also rates the latest Christian media and brings news on its blog.
Reach Jennifer Hawes at 937-5563, follow her on Twitter at @JenBerryHawes.
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