Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Downside of the Cyber Church

We live in a wired world. We connect with Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, through blogs, chat-rooms, and email. We can see each other with video cameras through Skype. We can make "friends," keep in touch, have conversations. All of this is great. I'm a major participant in this effort. In fact, I only recently started to Twitter and I have Skype installed on my netbook. I'm ready for the cyber-church. Indeed, I can be a pastor of a cyber-church! I even justify my blogging as spiritual outreach.

But, there is a downside. Because something is lacking.

Last week in our Moltmann Conversation, the question was asked of our conversation partner -- what is the future of the congregation? Especially in light of recent technological breakthroughs?

Professor Moltmann's answer was: "The Cyber-church is a church without a Eucharist." I believe that is a most profound statement. You can talk, you can learn, but you cannot share in the Eucharist, because the Eucharist is a meal of community. He noted that with the Cyber-church you might be able to see and hear, but the rest of one's senses are neglected. You can't touch, feel, smell, or taste.

We all know that congregations aren't perfect. There is a certain desirability to the Cyber-church, because you have more control of access. You can keep relationships at a distance, never delving too deeply into the lives of the other.

Cyberspace is great, but it doesn't replace the congregation -- for without the congregation there is no Eucharist!


Anonymous said...

But you could still accept contributions- through Paypal!

Your blog is but an added dimension. I also like reading blogs from other churches. It lets you explore and share ideas that wouldn't come up in person. Could you imagine if I babbled like I do here after services? David Mc

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

But, you get to take communion at church!!!