Christian Community: Real and Virtual

Christian Community: Real and Virtual

Susan Ella George (University of South Australia, Australia)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-714-0.ch008
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Abstract

This chapter focuses on Christian community. We start with a consideration of real Christian community, finding that it is unique because of the relationship that is expected to exist between members: this relationship is one of “love,” in a “fellowship” dictated by the common status of “believer in Christ.” Secular communities are broader in type, and do not necessarily have this bond underpinning. There is evidence that both secular and religious communities have largely broken down in Western cultures. Many have found that the computer and virtual communities that are emerging are actually assisting people to find community once again. Some of the helpful factors in kindling virtual communities are the “levelling” and organisational structuresthat virtual communities make possible. Increasingly, it appears that virtual communities are providing an alternative to conventional religious communities. Debbie Gaunt provides a useful comparison between six models of Christian community and virtual community. And while the possibilities of virtual Christian communities are exciting, they are limited in (1) the lack of physical presence within which to express the most primitive aspects of community and (2) lack of guarantee that the type of relationship is that “love” that flows from the mutual status in Christ.

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