The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life

Public interest


18th-june-07_010.jpgInterest in the Anglican Community in SL is increasing. A number of blogs are discussing it (click here for example) and an article by a Christian journalist, John McNeil is getting a lot of attention (click here to view) (and click here to see the French version!!). The interest isn’t just from the church, but yesterday I was interviewed by the Dominion Post, the daily newspaper in Wellington, New Zealand.

Central to the curiosity is the idea of building a Cathedral rather than something more modern. This was very intentional on my part. The first reason I decided on a Cathedral is to endeavor to create interest within the SL community. To do this you have to create something special, something unusual. And this awesome Cathedral does that (for more images click here). The Cathedral is presently being considered for a design and build award within SL. And the builder, Monty Merlin deserves to win!

The second reason was the desire to create something clearly Christian rather than something that looks like a meeting hall. SL is international. People from around the globe participate and the Cathedral in my mind is a clear symbol of a Christian community.

The third reason is my reading shows that post-modernity is interested in both tradition and technology – so a Cathedral in SL is an attempt to integrate the two.

And the final thing to mention is: this is an experiment!! We are creating a completely new way of doing church. Not inventing from scratch, but rather combining traditions of old with the latest in technological offerings. We have no book to read, no blueprint to follow, this is all new territory. And what an exciting journey it has been so far!! I invite you to join us sometime.

In Christ,

Arkin Ariantho/Mark Brown

To check out the Cathedral of SL click here

To see the Wired blog post on us click here


Author: Mark Brown

CEO of The Bible Society in New Zealand.

2 thoughts on “Public interest

  1. Kansas versus Oz, perceptions of reality in Second Life

    A long time ago, when I was a newbie refugee from EverQuest, I was flying around various simulations and islands, exploring. This was just before Christmas, 2006. We met a fine gentleman who invited us to see his etchings. We arrived at his lofty apartment tower where he rented a nice apartment on the top floor. He had it nicely decorated with virtual furniture and virtual Christmas tree. We quickly grew golden Angel Wings and put forth our best effort to be a Christmas Angel by sitting on top of his tree. (Don’t try this in Real Life.) We continued the tour of his apartment and before admiring his bedroom etchings, we walked out on his high balcony with wonderful view. We tried to hover a bit and much to my chagrin, we discovered we could no longer fly. This disturbing alteration in our new virtual reality became our first introduction to “covenant” real estate. We asked him directly: “do you mean that we can’t fly here?” “That’s right,” he said. “The rules here don’t allow flight.” Our response was immediate. “If I can’t fly, we don’t want to be here.” we shouted. We then turned and jumped off his top floor balcony. Straightway .we splashed into the pond below and sulked underwater for the duration of an orca dive.

    The existence of covenants highlights the issue of this blog. How do we perceive virtual reality. Perhaps more important, how do we desire to perceive virtual reality? The contrast is quite apparent in some regions. For purposes of this discussion, I am going to distinguish between “zoning” rules and covenants. Who among us likes large flashing rotating billboards next door? Most don’t. But there are clear preference distinctions in Second Life. We have many friends whose Second Life residences are upscale reflections of Real Life coastal suburbia complete with kitchen and bathroom in addition to great rooms, game rooms, and bedroom(s). We can only wonder, when, in second life, was the last time Avatar Leslie, my bitmap icon, suffered from urge to pee? Never. Except hmmmm. “Chat Channel: 04:31 Leslie: “brb, biobreak.”04:34 Leslie It is soooooo inconvenient to be biological, mon amie. MDR.” Some functions are common on Lake Michigan’s shores and the Brittainy cost

    Perhaps that is why our own residences float and other friends choose to live in Treehouses. Dunno. But we come to Second Life with our own expectations of virtual reality. If you enter our spherical Emerald City Dragon Egg floating at 250 meters, two views will capture your attention. First you notice a lofty view of the Himalayas from the summit of Mt. Everest. Then, you might notice the exquisite rainbow floating within Second Life (editorializing … what better place for ‘Clouds and Rain‘, eh?) People quickly realize they are not walking on air, but the smoky translucent floor and floating “Atlantean wreckage” can disorient a new comer. Emerald Dragon Egg is a sphere with 25 meter radius. There is lots of room on its three levels: hot deuterium tub level, leather couch level , satin futon level. Three pieces of virtual furniture and a Broadcast Audio-Video Media Center. The radiation level remains unpublished, but frankly, the gamma flux would kill your RL “meat Avatar.” Welcome to our brave new world. This isn’t Kansas, Toto.

    Introducing a new world view (“weltanschauung“) introduces a lot of conflict regarding expectations about Second Life activities. Some of the conflict relates to imported ideologies. A real life fundamentalist trying to evangelize our immortal souls sees “a mission field.“ An Anglican priest can vision “a virtual cathedral and spiritual community“ (complete with a paved walkway from shore to summit in world where we fly!) At least he had the good sense to hire a Tau Cetan as master bit mason. Martial Artists can practice the Samurai Arts in virtual Tokyo. Skydivers can skydive at Abbot’s.
    Lovers can ride the canals of Virtual Venice in a gondala. A Kansas farmer can plant virtual wheat and the Agricultural Extension office can teach genetic engineering and crop rotation in a virtual classroom. Kansas, we are just country folk.

    Meanwhile, Over the rainbow, our LGBTA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Alternately-Abled) and BDSM (bondage, sado-masochist) communities find a place where artistic creativity and imagination raise our Dorothy’s liberation to a whole new level or mire her soul to new depths of depravity, depending on your “point of view.” This isn’t Kansas Toto.

    Some people see Second Life as our sister does: “a 3d chat room with pretty pictures – a graphic version of My-space and Yahoo.” Others of us see it as a world for experimentation of the Mind and creative spirit. Which is the whole reason for this blog. Inquiring minds want to know: what is reality? What is virtual reality? Is there a difference? To what extent do real life emotions and ideologies inform your Second Life perceptions and processes (activities)? Is it a game? Is it “strictly business?” There are many scales on which we can view second life. Here are some examples

    Life as it is ç=================> Life as we want it be.
    As we are ç==================> As we want to be seen
    Judgemental ç=================> Perceptive, open ended
    Sensate ç=====================> Intuitive
    Logical ç=======================> Feelings/emotions
    Absolute ç=======================> Relative
    Stable ç==========================> Experimental / Transitory

    Some come to Second Life in order to work, to make money. Others of us discover that it is time to again play Barbie doll inside a Legoworld on steroids. To what extent do real life emotions and ideologies inform your Second Life perceptions and processes (activities) or identity? To what extent do our differences introduce conflicts? These are some of the questions we ponder while awaiting our cremain’s return to cornfield’s dust.

    Affectionately submitted,

    Antinomian Sinner Heretic Angel (ASH Angel) Leslie
    (Our God is a Consuming Fire)

  2. Pingback: brownblog

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