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The Church and the Internet

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Daniel Grech

on 11 January 2014

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Transcript of The Church and the Internet


Communication is necessary...
“Believers set aside this time to encourage one another through fellowship, corporate singing, prayer, and mere physical and mental presence. Any primarily individualistic activity tends to conflict with the concept of a biblical church service.”
People leave
on all kinds of posts from statues, pictures, life events, moods, etc.

Giving people a voice in church empowers them to use it outside of church. Affirming them, ("
") when they contribute and speak up – they have something of value to share with God’s family.

Paying close attention to what emerges from the other side of the relational world (virtual world) – can help to address the needs and create "
" to relations that can be "
" (explored) later on...
Ecclesiology of Vatican II:
Ecclesial Communion
The Church is communion in a state of mission, where
"Ecclesial communion"
is based on Trinitarian communion.

Model based on the Johannine image of the
vine and
the branches
and the Pauline image of the
One Body of Christ

It is above all based on the Lucan idealized portrait of the first Christian community that emerged after the Pentecost and recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.

The Internet: an ecclesiological perspective
We live in a period when it has become possible for people to

with one another
no matter the distance that separates them.

The 21st century means of social communication is
changing patterns
of relationship and praxis in society and the world.

So how does this affect the life and mission of the Church?
What are the opportunities and possibilities that this new technology present?
Theology in a Digital World
David Lochhead, Professor of Systematic Theology, Vancouver School of Theology
“In the world of generalized communication, the world in which everything concerns the transmission of messages, we have to discover anew what it means to be Church. This society could be a Babel in which everyone speaks but no one listens. No one attempts to understand.

One of the roles of the Church is to engage those voices – to listen, to understand, to challenge.”
What the Church can learn from
the social media spectrum...
“Why are Millennials leaving the church? It’s simple. Mobile social computing has replaced the main draw of the traditional church: Social connection and affiliation.”
model is associated with the unity, fellowship, friendship, sharing and participation.

Thus the early Church is understood primarily
as a network of
Christian communities,
a communion of communions
This is what Vatican II and post-conciliar ecclesiology try to recapture where it is to be experienced at various levels: in the home (the domestic church), in the neighborhood, the parish, diocese, regional and national levels and at the universal levels.

The Church can therefore be regarded as a web of relations,
a network of relationships
"The Church looks for ways of multiplying and strengthening the bonds of union between her members. For this reason, communication and
dialogue among Catholics are indispensable."
Communio et Progressio
, 114)
Interpersonal, social and dialogical communication among the members of the Church can lead to authentic communion.

"the unity and brotherhood of humanity are the chief aims of all communication..." (
Communio et Progressio
, 8)

“Theology provides a value structure for developing and deploying appropriate technologies. Technology provides the means for communicating the good news of the gospel and its theology to the inhabitants of the world and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the operation of the Church.”
Theology and Technology
Thomas L. Erekson director of the
BYU School of Technology (May 8, 2001)
“Very few Christian pastors or theologians are addressing these issues or the challenges that we will face as we fully enter the Information Age, e.g. Robots & Humans, Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Transplants (how much of the human body can we replace and still be human), Intelligent Avatars, Trans/Post Humanism, Abortion of people with ‘criminal genes.’”
Cybermissions: Towards a Theology Of Technology
a presentation given during
The International Conference on Computing and Mission by
John Edminston, Chairman and CEO of Antioch Internet Bible International and operator of cybermissions.org
How Facebook Killed The Church
Dr. Richard Beck, Associate Professor and
experimental psychologist at
Abilene Christian University
An Ecclesiology of Twitter
by Richard Clark Co-Founder/Editor-in-Chief of
Christ in Pop Culture and classroom technology manager at
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY
“Roger Haight asks: ‘By what stretch of the imagination can one choose the church of Carthage in the mid-third century to represent the whole church?’

“If his question is legitimate, then,” Holly Reed says, “we are surely asking the wrong question by asking if the church can be the church online. Rather, we need to ask how the church is the church online and just how the Kingdom of God is breaking into our world anew, moving our virtual realities into a reality that speaks of an old reality in a new way.”
Can the Church be the Church Online?
Defining a Virtual Ecclesiology for Computer Mediated Communities
Paper presented by Holly Reed at the annual meeting of the National Communications Association, Communicating Worldviews:
Faith, Intellect, Ethics, Chicago, IL, (Nov. 15, 2007)
for Reflection

It is important, too, that people at all levels of the Church use the Internet creatively to meet their responsibilities and help fulfill the Church's mission. Hanging back timidly from fear of technology or for some other reason is not acceptable, in view of the very many positive possibilities of the Internet.

The internet has a remarkable capacity to overcome distance and isolation, bringing people into contact with like-minded persons of good will who join in virtual communities of faith to encourage and support one another.
Document of the Pontifical Council
for Social Communications
The technological means for realizing the vision of the Church as communion;

Through it members of the Church can actively participate in the mission of new evangelization and in social transformation that can bring about justice, peace and the integrity of creation.

The challenge for the Church leaders and lay faithful is how to make use of the available social media technology and social networking to enhance ecclesial communion.
The Internet can provide...
To what kind fo
does this new way of understanding communion through the internet lead to?

Can we really say that virtual ecclesial communion
is the same
as traditional communion where people meet in congregations and ecclesial celebrations?


are one of the main aspects in the social media world.

"People like the sound of their own voice. They pay more attention and learn more from a conversation they have been part of than a monologue they have listened to."

Can this have an impact on the way of doing Church sermons on Sunday masses?
Online sermon?
After-mass online discussions?
What the Church can learn from
the social media spectrum...
The abiltiy to simply "
" someone,
to "
" the content they want,
to go "
" at any time,
to "
" and close a relation...

can these alter the way people live the ecclesial communion
and parish relationships?
Full transcript