Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Just 'church' enough to be dangerous

In considering 'virtual church,' Bob Hyatt takes lessons from efforts at drive-in worship from the 1950s. He makes a good case that we ought to learn the lesson from history:
The problem with the drive-in church model isn’t that it isn’t church—it’s that it is just “church” enough to be dangerous. What this almost-church does is park people in a cul-de-sac where they have access to the easiest and most instantly satisfying parts of church while exempting them from the harder and more demanding parts of community.

And while I’m glad such an absurdity has remained on the fringe, as I watch the discussion about “internet campuses” I can’t shake a certain feeling of deja vu.

Following close on the heels of the video venue push is that of the internet campus: real-time streaming of a church service, but with the added features of “live interactive features like lobby chat room, message notes, communication card, raise a hand, say a prayer, and even online giving.” At least 35 churches in America are doing internet campuses, with more jumping on board all the time. By one estimate, 10 percent of Americans will rely solely on the internet for their “religious experience” as early as 2010.”

Is this a problem? Something we should be concerned about or resist? Absolutely. Because it’s malforming for those involved (whether they know it or not) and because it’s sub-biblical.
Please read the whole article. Part 2 is also worth reading. Here's a sample:
I know that “virtual” baptisms are practiced online. I know too that every week thousands in virtual communities practice virtual communion, if not together, then at least simultaneously. And I have to wonder, Why can’t they see that’s not enough? That simultaneous is not the same as together, and that taking communion in this way completely misses the whole point?
Don't see it either? Then please read all of Part 2 as well.

Along similar lines, Dan Edelen suggests Christians ought to slow down our communication:
Like a decade-old, cotton T-shirt washed too many times on hot, our social fabric is growing increasingly thin. We still recognize the T-shirt for what it is, but we can see through it now.


Blogger dle said...


I fear this is a societal "advancement" that will only be undone through a complete collapse of society.

Its easiness is alluring, but also deceptive. My social life now seems to revolve around Facebook, while at the same time my actual face-to-face time with people continues to drop—and not by my choice. I'd prefer to be able to pick up a phone on Wednesday evening and call a friend to go out on Friday evening, but it just doesn't happen. You can't even schedule anything a month out; too many people with kids have their schedules loaded to the brim with kid stuff months in advance.

So we drop a status update on Facebook and rejoice at how we now connect with so many people, yet we're lonelier than we ever were.

9:19 AM, September 09, 2009  
Blogger Milton Stanley said...

I understand. I haven't gotten wrapped up in Facebook, mostly because I ignore my page. Right now I have 13 FB messages in my inbox going back 3 or 4 months, but I simply haven't gotten to them. I feel a little bit bad not keeping in better touch with long-ago friends from college and work, but when something has to slip, I don't want it to be ftf friends and family.

11:33 AM, September 09, 2009  

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