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Religion, Sacred Space, Church on the Internet?

I’ve been pondering the role our faith plays in the world of social media.  Many have agreed with each other in these blogs that the internet is indeed a valid and necessary place to connect with others and share our faith.  We’ve mostly agreed that there have been opportunities to connect with others in our lives in ways that we would not have been able to do say 10 years ago. Which is all good.  But I guess that lingering question in all of this is the genuineness of a virtual community and it’s ability to transcend  a community that is physically present with one another (ie the family that was transformed by holding hands around the dinner table and sharing a blessing in yesterday’s post).

So what about these “sacred spaces” that community can create?  Can that happen virtually?

Here’s one guy’s story about community and the internet.  The title in and of itself will be alarming to some or many of you.  But listen to what’s he’s talking about when he says, “The Internet is my Religion.”  and tell me what you think.  (Here’s a working definition of Religion from the online Oxford dictionary should you need it).

Be still and blog….lr

3 responses to “Religion, Sacred Space, Church on the Internet?

  1. Joy Mestemacher

    Libby,
    I think I have some of the same concerns about social media that you write about. The story about the little girl bringing prayer to her family’s dinner table was precious. It shows the effects of teachers on children and how their learning can be brought back to the family. Social media was not part of this learning experience, but the story of this successful experience can be shared, as it was by you to many more people than ever before we had social media. This is an important thing to realize, that we still need to have relationships in the church and community that are personal and real to reach everyone. We need to be thoughtful and intentional in our use of social media for many reasons.

  2. Libbie, Jim Gilliam’s video sure does bring up possibilities for new “Sacred Spaces” on the internet. I think of the TEEM program in the ELCA, for example – The TEEM (Theological Education in Emerging Ministries) process is available for special pastoral candidates in very unique emerging ministry settings. It makes me wonder what “emerging” ministry settings the internet may hold in our future.
    More information on the current TEEM program can be found here: http://www2.elca.org/leadership/liderazgo/english/teem.html

  3. If I can give my two cents, I don’t believe that a virtual community can stand up to a physical community. There is a disconnect that arises with the ability to “think of your feet” during personal conversation it missing. When you can sense the manurisms of the people you speak with there is a kind of connection that is created…the ability to “read” people is vital in relationships. Ask yourself this question: Do people generally remember more conversations with people or a text they read? By this I mean to say that a virtual relationship would be a “text based” one with IM’s and message boards. A text message IM is no where near the same thing as a personal conversation (in my opinion) for the ability to establish trust is diminished and cheapened. But maybe that’s just my view. Thanks for your thoughts

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