German Christians are starting what they hope will be a record-breaking effort to use the Internet social-networking and micro-blogging service Twitter to try and "tweet" the Bible - writes Anli Serfontein.
"We want with this action to encourage a debate about the Bible and to simultaneously show the modern possibilities that exist to receive and make known the Word of God," said Melanie Huber, portal manager of the Protestant Web site www.evangelisch.de, which launched the initiative.
Twitter (www.twitter.com) allows only 140 characters per message. The messages are called tweets and can be read by any Internet user on an open forum, or by subscribers if it is a closed service.
The project aims to publish the Bible in a shortened, micro-blog form on 24 May 2009, the final day of the biennial German Protestant Convention known as the Kirchentag, which attracts tens of thousands of participants as well as political leaders from Germany and beyond.
Kirchentag organisers say they hope Christians will relate their favourite Bible passage in 140 characters.
Theologians are busy dividing the Bible into 3000 sections that will need to be summarised as tweets. Volunteers will then distribute flyers to the expected tens of thousands of Kirchentag visitors, listing the Bible verses to be tweeted.
Organizers at evangelisch.de acknowledge that "tweeting" the Bible is a "complicated" undertaking.
The action will start at 6 pm on 20 May, the first day of the Kirchentag and end with the closing service. People interested in "tweeting" the Bible are already invited to register on evangelisch.de, which is to be launched in September as a fully operational Protestant Web portal.
The portal is already using Twitter (twitter.com/evangelisch_de) to keep people informed of its progress.
Ekklesia new sis available on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/ekklesia_co_uk
[With acknowledgements to ENI. Ecumenical News International is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Conference of European Churches.]