A very interesting discussion last night with Anne Tomlinson as part of the Church in the Academy series at the University of Glasgow’s theology department. (Or faculty or school or whatever the thing is right now).
We were discussing the possibilities for the church with the new opportunities that new social IT technologies have brought us.
After thinking about it overnight, here’s 10 discussion points and questions, some made last night and some fresh ones.
- The church is actually very good at doing virtual reality – so good we don’t realise we are doing it half the time.
- The Easter resurrection appearances seem to cast doubt on the necessity of the physical. Thomas was invited to touch but Mary Magdalene was forbidden to do so. The risen Christ seems to be no respecter of physical space, time or geography and we are the body of [the risen] Christ. Are we not?
- If we believe in the Real Presence, do we believe that presence to be physical?
- Prayer generally takes place in virtual space.
- Virtual reality is most likely to be used successfully as a way of enhancing rather than replacing more common forms of perception, friendship and social interaction but that should not rule out new possibilities altogether.
- The internet is a world-wide web of megaphones drowning out the voices of those who do not know how to use it. I tweet therefore I am.
- In evolutionary terms, the voices of those who choose not to engage online simply may not be voices that matter.
- Whenever we perceive new territory we send out missionaries. Current experiments in cyberspace fit that experience.
- One day we will need to provide special ministries to the cyber-poor. (We should be planning this now – those who engage in these ministries will release the rest of us).
- Cyberpoverty may stem from actual poverty, fear, lack of education, low personal expectation or low self-worth. Churches have a mandate to address such societal evil and should not shirk the task of digital inclusion.