Chris Stedman’s Virtual Visit

“Let’s treat our digital lives as if they have important things to teach us about what it means to be human.”

The Lutheran Center is excited to welcome Minneapolis-based author, activist, and professor Chris Stedman on Tuesday, March 9, 2021! Stedman is the author of IRL (In Real Life): Finding Realness, Meaning, and Belonging in Our Digital Lives, which was this winter’s All-Community Read, and is a 2020-21 visiting lecturer with the Network for ELCA Colleges and Universities (NECU). Stedman’s visit will focus on IRL, exploring questions of what it means to be “real” online, and what we can learn from the novel ways of being and belonging that are emerging online. These topics are especially relevant as we continue to increasingly interact online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Register below for Stedman’s event on March 9:

St. Olaf Daily Chapel

11:10a.m. CT, Boe Chapel*

*Only students, faculty, and staff on campus can attend chapel in-person in Boe Chapel. Others who are interested in watching Stedman’s chapel talk may livestream it.
Stream Stedman’s Chapel Service

Taylor Center Out for Lunch session: LGBTQIA+ Identity and the Internet (open to St. Olaf students, faculty, and staff)

11:45a.m. – 12:45p.m. CT

For many LGBTQIA+ people, the internet was the first place they could find connection, support, and resources—the first place they could truly feel like themselves. But the internet can also empower those who wish to harass or harm LGBTQIA+ people and members of other marginalized communities. In this “Out for Lunch” session, Chris Stedman (author of IRL: Finding Realness, Meaning, and Belonging in Our Digital Lives) will share some of his own journey as a queer person online, and explore what we can learn from the digital experiences of LGBTQIA+ people about the challenges and opportunities of navigating life online.
Register now!

What Can We Learn about Being Human from Life Online?

7p.m. CT

For much of history, humans have grappled with questions of meaning and belonging. Today, more and more people are leaving religious and other communal institutions and moving their search for connection and significance to digital spaces. Especially in the time of social distancing and online learning, the work of being human—exploring life’s big questions, finding a sense of identity and context, and connecting with others—increasingly happens on the internet. How is this changing our understanding of who we are?

Join Stedman for a conversation with Lutheran Center Director Deanna Thompson ’89 about his new book IRL: Finding Realness, Meaning, and Belonging in Our Digital Lives, what it means to be “real” in the time of Twitter and TikTok, and what we can learn from the novel ways of being and belonging that are emerging online. The conversation will be followed by an audience Q&A.
Register now!

All-Community Read Book Discussion 

For alumni, parents, and friends of the college

Alumni, parents, and friends of the college are invited to participate in an All-Community Read book discussion on IRL (In Real Life): Finding Realness, Meaning, and Belonging in Our Digital Lives by Minneapolis-based author and interfaith activist Chris Stedman.

Join Lutheran Center Director Deanna Thompson ’89 and Interfaith Fellow Holly Beck ’22 for a discussion and dig deeper into the themes identified by Stedman both in IRL and his virtual visit to St. Olaf. Stedman’s exploration of being “real” online and how our digital lives are impacting what it means to be human is especially relevant in this time of COVID-19.

Register now!

Chris Stedman’s bio: Chris Stedman is a Minneapolis-based writer, speaker, and community organizer. He is the author of IRL: Finding Realness, Meaning, and Belonging in Our Digital Lives (2020) and Faitheist (2012). Chris has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and PBS, and has written for publications including The Guardian, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, Pitchfork, VICE, USA Today, and The Washington Post. Previously the founding director of the Yale Humanist Community and a fellow at Yale University, Chris also served as a humanist chaplain at Harvard University. He currently teaches in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Augsburg University and serves as the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities’ 2020-21 visiting lecturer. To learn more, visit chrisstedmanwriter.com.