Thursday, January 29, 2015

Technology and Community

Long ago, I went to a different church and served on a different church council.  I still keep in touch with some of those parishioners.  Yesterday's post about modern demons, like the demon of disconnectedness, struck a chord with one friend from that time period.  He wrote to talk about feeling disconnected from communities, as yesterday's post discussed.

About a year after I served on church council with him, he and his wife moved to Costa Rica, and they have since moved to Peru, where there is only one Lutheran church, but the service is in Spanish.  The ex-pats who speak English tend not to be Christians.  He talked about these blocks to connectedness.  I was touched that he wrote, and I wrote back.  I've pasted a version of my ideas below.

I've always wondered if electronic/online communities can serve as a community of sorts for people who don't have access to churches where they can gather in person. I suspect it would work better if people had some sort of connection before they left and then returned electronically.

For example, if a former church where you still knew the members attending broadcast its service in real time, and you could stream it on your computer, would you feel connected? Or would it make you feel worse, with no real people around you? These questions intrigue me.

At work, where I spend most of my time, I, too, find few Christians. So, reading all sorts of things via computer during the work week helps. But how would I feel if that was my only connection to Christianity?

It's hard to maintain community, whether it be electronic community or in-person community.  Technology can be used for good or ill when it comes to community building.  I wonder what tools are out there that we're not utilizing?

No comments: