A few weeks back I ran a short post in entitled Should a Church Not Meet in Person? In that short post I was sort of kidding around about just going to church in Second Life. Well...I spoke to soon. Here is church in Second life....
Apparently you can sit, raise your hands, or just walk around and watch in Second Life Church. You can be your own individual avatar - do your thing unencumbered by others.
A few questions that arise for me...what are you guys' thoughts?
- Can our avatars obey the command of Scripture in Hebrews 10:24, 25? If not does this help Christians directly disregard this command?
- Can our avatars be baptized, partake of the Lord's Table "together" with others?
- Is this a natural extension of geographically dispersed video preaching churches? I am not talking about campuses within the same geography - but campuses in multiple states, countries, or video with no campus at all. Is it OK to watch a video church alone in your pajamas if it is OK to go to video church "with others?" Maybe there is no connection, maybe there is?
- Does Hebrews 13:7 - Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith...need to mean "look at your pastor's blogging habbits, go and do likewise?" OR "observe how they talk about loving their wife and kids...then do likewise?"
- How do Internet churchers bear each others burdens? When someone has a baby, do they send Amazon.com links to parenting books, write up a blog of encouragement, look at the family pics on Flickr and smile? I am not saying we should not do these things - we should, but wouldn't it be better to be able to bring a meal, babysit the older kids in the family, do a little laundry for the new mom?
In defense of this church (maybe) they do still "suggest" that face-to-face is an OK thing to do...maybe once a year.
Again, I am all for the full use of technology and geek gear in the church. Podcast stuff, vodcast stuff, blog stuff, communicate, connect, etc. But replace embodied worship, connection, communion, and meeting with one another? This seems goofy. I am not even saying there should not be a church in Second Life world where people hang out, but I am saying that this should not BE someone's "church." In fact, a church is a gathered embodied assembly of people who follow Jesus Christ. It is not a scattered people watching a video, chatting and posting on a blog.
Missional contextualization does not mean becoming the culture...it means moving within it natively but as a distinct people under the gospel. For me this means that we still like the hug...and assembling together. Part of our prophetic voice has been lost in a zealous, pragmatic bog lacking theological reflection.