Lutheran Center All-Community Read
IRL (In Real Life): Finding Realness, Meaning, and Belonging in our Digital Lives by Chris Stedman
More on Chris Stedman and IRL
Chris Stedman is a humanist, interfaith activist, author, and professor who currently serves as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Augsburg University. Stedman is a 2020-21 visiting lecturer with the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities (NECU). A humanist who is passionate about interfaith cooperation, Stedman authored his first book Faitheist in 2012, detailing his faith journey and the need for atheists and the religious to find common ground in order to work together to make the world a better place.
IRL, published in 2020, is Stedman’s most recent work. A brief blurb about IRL: “[i]t’s easy to view our online presence as fake, to see the internet as a space we enter when we aren’t living our real, offline lives… IRL, Chris Stedman’s insightful exploration of authenticity in the digital age, shines a light on how age-old notions of realness can be freshly understood in our online lives. Stedman invites readers to consider how they use the internet to fulfill the essential need to feel real, online and off.” As you heard in Stedman’s video above, these issues are even more salient in this time of COVID-19 and continued social distancing.
Chris Stedman’s Virtual Visit: March 9, 2021
Stedman will be virtually visiting St. Olaf on Tuesday, March 9, 2021! His visit will feature multiple opportunities for the St. Olaf community to engage with him on the issues raised in IRL, including a Taylor Center Out for Lunch session and an evening keynote address.
Sign Up for the All-Community Read:
Students are invited to participate in book groups through All-Community Read to connect with their peers on issues of realness, community, and the digital world. Students who sign up to participate in a book group will receive a copy of IRL in the mail, or for students currently residing outside of the U.S., a link to the e-book. To participate, sign-up with the Google form below by Friday, December 11.
Timeline of All-Community Read:
- By Friday, December 11: Sign up to participate in a book group
- December: Receive a copy of IRL
- December/January: Read IRL
- January: Training sessions for book group leaders
- Late January/February/March: Book groups meet to discuss IRL
- Tuesday, March 9: Chris Stedman’s virtual visit
Book group options and details:
Students have two options for books groups (feel free to participate in both options!):
1. Choose to be assigned to a book group
2. Create your own book group
Choose to be assigned to a book group:
We will have two book discussion opportunities for students who would like to be assigned to a book group: Wednesday, February 10 from 10am-11am CST or Thursday, February 11 from 2pm-3pm CST. You also have the opportunity to sign-up to be a discussion leader for the book group. An invitation to a Zoom video call for the discussion will be sent to you via email.
Create your own book group:
Student orgs/teams/musical ensembles, etc. are encouraged to take advantage of this option. On the Google form below, students should list the names of other students who will be in their book group and designate which student(s) will be leading the book group discussion. Leaders will be invited to a leader training session in January. Each student listed should ALSO fill out the Google form. We encourage students who are considering forming their own book groups to confirm with others in their proposed book group BEFORE signing up with the form.The Lutheran Center is happy to help in setting up a time for your book group to meet. If your book group plans to set up its own time, we ask that you please inform us when you plan to meet.
Note: If you book group is planning to meet in person, the meetings MUST be in accordance with the current campus COVID-19 standards.
Book group leader training:
Students who sign up to be book group leaders, either of assigned book groups or of a book group they formed on their own, will be invited to virtual leader training sessions in January, facilitated by the Lutheran Center’s student Interfaith Fellows.
Sign up for the All-Community Read:
Sign up with this Google form by Friday, December 11 to participate in the All-Community Read.
Access an IRL reader guide.
Faculty and staff are invited to participate in the All-Community Read through our faculty/staff book discussion opportunities on Friday, February 26 from 3:15pm-4:15pm OR Tuesday, March 2 from 12pm-1pm. Sessions will be facilitated by Lutheran Center director Deanna Thompson and books will be provided.
We also hope you will consider including Stedman’s events in your spring classes and programming. The themes in IRL are so timely and likely speak to our students’ experiences of online interaction both pre-COVID and in the midst of COVID. Faculty/staff can indicate their interest in involving their classes/programs in the Google form below.
To sign up for a book discussion session, fill out this Google form by Monday, December 14.
Access an IRL reader guide.
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.
To sign up for this opportunity, visit this link.
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