Is the virtual church a real/genuine church?
Absolutely not. But neither is a physical gathering in a church building on a Sunday morning. The body of Christ is a spiritual aggregation of believers whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. That body finds itself aggregated, or called out into assembly with each other, in both physical and virtual gatherings. There are seeking non-believers in both physical and virtual aggregations so neither expression can claim to be fully church. And also, there are believers in physical churches who connect with each other online during the week and there are believers from cyber-churches and online faith communities who intentionally seek out physical meetings when possible. The dividing line between the two is therefore more artificial than actual. (Andrew Jones being interviewed by Doug Estes)
I’ve been a huge admirer of Andrew Jones’ blog for about the last 5 years (ever since I started blogging myself). I had the chance to do an interview with him back on August 13 of last year, and the topic of the interview was around new media, technology, social media, etc. He is always a thoughtful interview, speaker, etc. And we had a chance to move from the virtual world, to the “real world” and chat together and “sympose” during our time at GodblogCon (Blogworld and New Media Expo in Vegas). I consider him to be one of the leading thinkers when it comes to the intersection of technology and the Church, especially in praxis.
I’m still wrapping my head around second life, especially as it begins to evolve more in the Church. I will be processing it for a while. But I know that what is new and foreign to a degree to me today, will be what my daughter will see as norm in the future. Who knows what Church will look like in the future. But I think that the online world can enhance our offline worlds (and vice-versa), especially in Church and discipleship communities.
What do you think?