John Roberto, Lifelong Faith Associates, is a Curator extraordinaire. In his essay, “Becoming A Faith Formation Curator” (Spring 2011, Lifelong Faith Journal, now freely available online!), John defines a curator as “someone who continually finds, groups, organizes, and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific subject to match the needs of a specific audience.” In addition to describing the process of curation, he skillfully demonstrates it in the sites he curates: The Faith Formation Learning Exchange and 21st Century Faith Formation. In them, John selects and reviews contemporary resources and makes resources easily accessible those passionate about and responsible for faith formation.
One of John’s muses is Steve Rosenbaum (Curation Nation: How to Win in a World Where Consumers are Creators, 2011). Steve’s essay, Five Great Tips for Content Curation (April 17, 2012), encourages authors to 1) Be Part of the Curation Ecosystem, 2) Follow a Schedule, 3) Embrace Multiple Platforms, 4) Engage and Participate, and 5) Share, Don’t Steal. This essay is a quick read for those just beginning to offer content on the web. One of the most helpful recommendations he makes is to take advantage of a distributed network by encouraging collaborative efforts. Citing a three-legged stool philosophy of curation, he encourages a delicate balance between self-created content, guest contributions, and links to articles and other resources on the web. This page – and this site – incorporates all three.
Within Episcopal Faith Formation, many are excited about an emerging Resource Portal being created through a partnership between the Center for Spiritual Resources and the Virginia Theological Seminary’s Center for the Ministry of Teaching. This curated site is being imagined as a “first stop” clearinghouse for those seeking resources and programs for faith formation and theological education across the lifespan.
They offer these guidelines to those responsible for selecting content:
- Audience appropriateness — Resource demonstrates obvious utility to one or more of our core audiences: individual seekers; participants in Christian formation programming at home, at church, at camp, or online; group leaders; and school or congregational leaders.
- Theological sensitivity — Resource creators share a commitment to a broad and generous Mainline Protestant/Roman Catholic perspective. Resource shares the good news of God in Christ while “respecting the dignity of every human being.” Mainline Anglican/Episcopal resources are especially appropriate.
- Biblical groundedness — Resource demonstrates an explicit or implicit engagement in the Bible and other significant Christian texts. Resource creators model a hermeneutic that allows for a variety of interpretations based on recognized and transparent methods of Biblical scholarship.
- Lifelong faith formation — Resource affirms, explicitly whenever possible, a commitment to lifelong growth in the knowledge, service, and love of God in the context of intentional Christian communities shaped, often but not always, by baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Holy Eucharist/Communion).
- Liturgical awareness — Resource includes strategies for incorporation in or inclusion alongside the liturgies/worship traditions of the church, or includes standalone prayers or liturgies/worship services. Not all users will be concerned with this criterion, but Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Roman Catholics in particular tend to approach formation through the lens of worship (lex orandi, lex credendi–praying shapes believing) and the context of liturgical seasons.
- Editorial responsibility — Resource creators and curators value attention to the details of usage and grammar, web design, and copyright compliance. Curators (and creators when the creator submits an original resource) are committed to “signing” their posts with initials linking each contribution to the appropropriate collaborator’s bio.
- Practical value — Resource encourages users to be “doers of the word, and not merely hearers” (James 1:22) and engages the “how” of mission and ministry and not just the why. Use of action-reflection models of practical theology is especially appropriate.
- Non-expert accessibility — Resource avoids unnecessary religious, pedagogical, and technological jargon and can be used by expert and novice practitioners.
For further information about curation, see:
For examples of curated faith formation sites see: