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virtual community?

screen shotI recently, here, wrote about fifty cardboard, 1.2-metres-square, “god boxes” for people to use as prayer or quiet rooms placed around the city of Christchurch.

The second reaction I got to my post was, “No community!”


Of all people seeing community beyond the physical presence of bodies in close proximity, Christians, I would have thought, would be right up there. With a sense of being part of the Body of Christ, the Christian community, even when dispersed. Even when praying alone. Acknowledging even angels and those who have gone before us as part of the larger community to which we belong.

I would have thought that Christians would take to the concept of virtual community naturally – having practised such a spiritual understanding day by day of their spiritual walk.

It would surprise me if someone using a cardboard “god box” was not aware, at least for a moment, of the community that helped make the this box, the community in which it was located, their own community of household and neighbours, and the wider quake-affected community that has led to the construction of the “god box”…

A positive

Bishop Marc Andrus writes about using an app on his smart phone for his morning devotions. Timing and guiding him through a time of meditation and contemplative prayer, the app lets him know who else has been praying and meditating at that time. This forms a virtual community – “people supporting each other in our prayer and meditation practices”. They can share encouragement and resources. And the community extends beyond Christian boundaries.

A negative

Recently I had an urgent 10pm phone call from someone on a cell phone. As we talked I was hunting online for an appropriate parish church which could help with this particular need. I found the one I thought would be most useful – top hit on a search on Google. It clicked through to the diocesan website. On the page I got to was a clickable link to the website of the parish I was looking for. This is a well-endowed, well-resourced parish. I clicked the link provided by the diocesan site. You know I am telling the truth, because I couldn’t possibly make up something this bizarre: what came up on my screen was the image on the top left of this post – I had been redirected to the iCloud login page! [Yes – that’s my screenshot of the site that diocese directs people to!]

This story, I think, tops my previous one!

That diocese will clearly be paying good money to those who design and upkeep the website. [I recently heard the tale of a $150 fee for uploading an image – not even resizing required!] As well as diocesan officials paid for keeping the website up to date, the (well-resourced) parish clearly has never checked its link on the diocesan site!

Another positive

I wasn’t looking for this parish. But in my several searches, increasingly frustrated, at that 10pm phone conversation, I did trip over this excellent site. Well done St Paul’s. [But why should we congratulate; when shouldn’t this be the standard we should be expecting of all?…]

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1 thought on “virtual community?”

  1. Every time I think about these cardboard churches, it makes me smile. ‘Church in a box’.

    I thought of going to a church yesterday, went on the website, it had anti-homosexual comments, not a single ministry helping anyone mentioned and apparently I am meant to be ‘commanded by God to support a husband in submission to his Godly leadership’…spelled out for me which box that church fits in!

    I don’t think the people who put out such messages want to reach out to anyone, they don’t want new people, they already have their closed community of people who fit in their box. Jesus’ teachings must be such an inconvenience to them…

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