There is no such thing as cyber church

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But then again there is. Church that takes place in cyber space is just as real as in the physical world. But there is no such thing as church that is cyber in totality, nor should there be.

Cyber space is a medium and mode, it is not a totalising reality. By that I mean we might use telephones to talk and pray for each other, but we don't say the telephone is my church. And whilst we might be in awe of new technological developments, in the future they will be as invisible and part of life as the telephone. The focus can't be on the technology, but the integration of the technology into the living out of church.

Whilst we might be critical of how the modern church adopted modern metaphors for our ecclessiology, like CEO pastors, leadership and organizational structures, we must be just as critical of new emerging metaphors that are hyped up as new forms of church. By that I mean I might enjoy chaos theory, emergent theory, web 2.0, but we cannot adopt them wholesale, and declare them as our ecclessiology.

As we seek to incarnate mission to our culture we need to use the modes and mediums of our culture, but without becoming captive to culture all over again.

So how do we steer a course through this, and make sure our ecclessiology isn't just another cultural fad and accommodation, but genuinely incarnates to our culture in ways that produce genuine kingdom mission? I think we need to do some theology, and biblical reflection on our culture and ecclessiology.

'The Community of the Word' whilst not a book about cyber church, is a good book that explores some theological and biblical issues that we could keep in mind as we read Wired, Fast Company, watch Apple Expo, use Web 2.0. So when someone tells me web 2.0 is a metaphor for emerging church, I also want to hear some theology and biblical reflection that show how.

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