Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reading Presbyterians Today

I'm finally catching up on reading the last few issues of Presbyterians Today, which sounds like a daily paper, but isn't. The July/August issue cover touted stories about High Tech High Touch Finding the Balance. Amidst well-written articles by Kathy Wolf Reed about the use of technology in our congregations and Cary Estes about how to reflect creation care in our church facilities, I found an article entitled "Virtual World Congregation." This article takes a look at 1st Presbyterian Church of Second Life (1PCSL), an online worshipping community. I was intrigued by the various comments offered by those who participate in this community. It made me wonder if this kind of virtual worshipping community might be a forecast of things to come, and if it is, I wonder how those of us in professional ministry might adjust our thinking and practice when it comes to leading congregations.

At a recent meeting of the Committee on Theological Education (COTE), we discussed many issues facing theological education both in seminaries and in the church at large, and while distance learning came up, I don't recall anyone talking about virtual community. It seems that we might need to encourage seminaries to take a serious look at how our traditional models of theological education come to bear on the non-geographical, non-physical, probably non-denominational world of Second Life and similar online communities.

For now, I think I'll make an attempt to explore this online worshipping community and find out how it might feed my own need for spiritual nourishment.