Why can’t we just have our church on a screen or on the internet? After all, we find “community” that believes the same way we do, even if the persons are many thousand miles away and we will never meet in person. Finally we have found someone who thinks the same as we do! And it’s so much easier because you don’t have to find out their weaknesses!
But what did Jesus mean we he instructed us to go to another (Matthew 18) if that person has sinned and show him/her the fault, “just between the two of you.”? That is the context of Jesus’ teaching on the “church.” Why not texting, e-mailing or some other means of media communication?
The bigger question is, what does it mean for the church that Jesus came “in the flesh” and that according to 1st John to deny this truth is “anti-Christ”?
I believe it means that Jesus came and was among His disciples as God face to face, in human form, day after day, with touch, and tone, and movement, and smell, and even eating together with them. Even the Passover supper was a covenant between God and his Church, His Bride. He called us to make disciples as He had done, with all that incarnational stuff included. (In- carne- means “in the flesh”)
Our Christ community must be incarnational- in the flesh- not over cyberspace, but real, human connection and real connection with the Divine. That isn’t to say we can’t use the web or texting, etc. Just that we must not let it replace the authentic community Jesus came to bring us!
See the mission statement of our ministry on: http://www.envisionmission.org/home
And then you can see why this matters to me so much. I can’t recount how many times pastorally I’ve had to deal with misunderstandings because people chose to text instead of going to a person face to face. God help us!