Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Playing Church?

The Church of Fools has been hailed as the first 3D interactive web-based church. Sponsored by the Methodist Church of Great Britain, it was initially conceived as a three-month experiment and was launched in May 2004 – and ran until that September. After logging on, visitors are able to choose a cartoon double, then walk around a virtual sanctuary, kneel, pray, shout hallelujah, play a hymn, and even ring the church bells. Though now closed, the Church of Fools is still "open for individual visits" (i.e., you cannot see or interact with any other visitors).

It was inevitable that web-based community become an outlet for "doing church," and I admit, the format of Church of Fools is intriguing - especially for generations raised on video games. But my initial reaction was to think "Can you really have biblical church online?" (To which the Church of Fools FAQ section answers We're more concerned that many of the people coming to Church of Fools are not getting true, meaningful church offline. Point conceded.) However, I'm not convinced this is what the author of Hebrews had in mind with the command for us not to neglect assembling togther (10:25). Thoughts?

You can check out Church of Fools for yourself here.

5 comments:

j truitt said...

I tend to agree with you about Hebrews 10. Good thoughts.

But your post reminded me of something that I don't agree with. And that is when people make it seem like church is the only place you can be obeying Hebrews 10:25. There is an idea floating around that if you don't go to church, you are somehow out of God's will or not following His commands. I'm not quite sure I like that idea.

Church is a great place to catch up on the "assembling of yourselves together," but it is not the only place to hang out with Christians. You can do that ANYWHERE. It really bothers me when pastors and those in ministry put more emphasis on going to church than on being the Church.

Karyn said...

I have online Bible study everyday, and consider those in this group as much my friends as those at my church, however I tend to get reclusive, and online church could easily become a substitute for the accountability, worship and teaching that is part of gathering together and being part of a church community.
I also need my children to be taught, and though I do a lot of that at home, I am not qualified to teach them the Bible the way I want them to know it. That is one reason they go to a Christian school as well as church.
I also think your observations regarding the inevitability of web based church is right on. It was just a matter of time...

van.diesel said...

good points made by you both. i think my uneasiness about "virtual church" is not b/c i think the physical building of a local church is so important. my real concern is exactly as karyn verbalized above - that Christians become (even more) reclusive and substitute the virtual for the real.

samb said...

dude

i am by no stretch a relational person. I hate going to church, but love hating it. Because it stretches me to go and be around people. Ecspecially at 7.24

and this is wack yo...thats the troof.

curious servant said...

Bizarre