The following is a report of the group discussion that occurred last Saturday, revolving around the general topic of “Being Christian In Second Life.” These discussions happen every Saturday at 11 a.m. SLT, at the benches in front of the Parish House. All are welcome to attend! Arundel Dragonash, who co-moderates these discussions (along with Joyous Schism) prepared the following summary.
Our group was smaller this week, and the discussion centered around the above – more personal – question than in previous weeks. The answers to the question covered a wide range!
Community was one of the first things mentioned. Broadly, the concept of community was said to include meeting people and making friends with similar interests and viewpoints and a place to gather for spiritual renewal as well as for more “serious” conversation than is routinely found in other areas of SL. Many of us enjoy the wider world aspect of those friendships, and enjoy such friendships beyond our geographical province, which (to me at least) makes this a truly Anglican congregation. Another aspect of the virtual-ness of the place can allow the isolated to participate in a Christian community; Arkin has already discovered the home-bound in our little community, and the Outback of Australia was mentioned, where distance is vast and becoming more of a problem as the cost of petrol keeps rising.
The discussion then turned to how we as individuals express our Christianity in SL. Many described close similarities between RL expression and SL expression, but some expressed a greater individual freedom within SL, with fewer social constraints on their expression of deeply felt Christianity. There was also mention of the chance for RL pastors to participate in services as part of the congregation, a welcome change.
Consensus was reached that all of us consider our Anglican community in SL to be a very important part of our lives! Though not mentioed in discussion, I know that all our prayers are with Arkin (Mark Brown) as he presents (and represents) us to the greater Anglican Communion this month.
NOTE: For a wonderful commentary on the place-ness of SL and other virtual worlds, I suggest the new book Coming of Age in Second Life by Tom Boellstorff, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of California Irvine.