Digital Jesus

For years on this site, I’ve been banging on about churches needing to move into the Third Millennium, and for Christian leaders to realise that it is rare to find someone who today doesn’t live in the digital world.

And clergy have responded that it is not part of their gifting. Clergy training generally ignores it. They have answered that they have no young(er) people in their ageing church community who are digitally agile, or who can help them set it up – my response to that: (1) to wonder: is this cause or is this effect, and (2) “invite young(er) people to your hall or vicarage on Friday night, give them pizza and soft-drink, and let them create your digital presence” (it’s win-win-win).

As New Zealand (and elsewhere) has been heading into lockdown, church leaders have brought church into the digital space. Covid-19 has forced churches to move into the Third Millennium. Suddenly, what I have been doing for years, resourcing the ancient spiritual disciplines in a digital world, that is nothing special now – lots of people are doing it, and many probably better than I am – and I THINK THAT’S GREAT!!! Here’s the technology you need: your phone.

Some are noticing that there’s more people participating in digital church than were ever there IRL (in real life).

Well – yes! [Duh?! 🙂 ] Sure, there’s novelty; people have more time in isolation; I guess, in these times, people may become more aware of their deep spiritual hunger and seek places to nourish this… but/and is it just (also) possible that people have been waiting for this, that people have been waiting for the church to move into the Twenty-first Century, into the Third Millennium?

There are some who think that this isolation will break the habit of churchgoing IRL:

Well, we shall see. We might see, when we come out of lockdown, that IRL people want to continue to deepen face-to-face what they discovered whilst in isolation. I certainly hope and pray that after we come out of isolation and quarantine, churches will continue living in the Third Millennium, with a strong digital presence, rather than reverting to last-millennium ways of being church.

Here’s some of the new ventures that have sprung up:

Fr Chris Orczy Daily Prayer (NZPrayer Book).
Fr Ben Randall was inducted on Friday last week as the new Vicar of St Mary’s Timaru. He is fully online here (BCP).

And there will be plenty of national and international examples. The last couple of days, I’ve been part of scripture study with about 1300 others 🙂 Add your examples in the comments below.

You may like my
Coronavirus solitude and spirituality
Streaming services – online spiritual resources in Coronavirus times
How to pray the Daily Office from A New Zealand Prayer Book
Connecting Lent, The Annunciation, and Lockdown

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