Bruce Reyes-Chow came out with an intriguing vision on February 28th:
“What if a church decided that the discipline of following Christ and building genuine Christian community could be lived out without everyone having to actually be in one place at one time?
What if a church unapologetically leveraged online tools to be a community no longer bound by architecture, time and physical proximity?
What if a church that met online believed that even a historic religious tradition like the Presbyterian Church (USA) can be expressed in new ways?
Essentially . . . can church be church when it is primarily lived and manifested online?”
I was excited and shared my encouraging comments as well as a sacramental reservation:
“One of the biggest concerns that I have would be a sacramental one. The signs of Baptism and Holy Communion ought to be tangible. In order to be a real mainline church you ought to be able to abide by ecumenical agreements on Eucharist and Baptism where the elements play a role that cannot be accomplished without physically touching them. I’m not saying an online church needs to be put on hold until beaming is invented but the body of Christ must be tangible at times.”
Well, on September 18th, Bruce effectively resigned from the project:
“First, let me say that I am feeling a little sheepish about not being as consistent and committed to this church online adventure that I had hoped to be. More than usual, life has been a little overwhelming and my own long-term discernment has been unexpectedly paralyzing.”
At this point the once great vision leads an uninspiring existence as a mere facebook group. I still hold that it takes a proprietary online sanctuary that is a sacred space. A simple facebook group cannot accomplish that.
Where do you think “church online” could go?