Forming relationships

Spadaro dedicates a section to the log-in/log-off mentality which might affect the initiation within a community. Since this distinction between the logged in and logged out is very often not found, with most users keeping their accounts logged in at all times, Spadaro’s preoccupation doesn’t hold ground nowadays. However, the risk of one seeing the faith as an application installed in his mashup of applications, is very strong. Rather than forming part of the kernel stack, faith can be seen as an application that is only brought to the fore when needed, and thus many a time, one’s moral behaviour does not reflect his faith.

The challenge is ever more present. Alienation is always preying in a simulated world. Virtual reality and simulation are becoming almost second nature to many, from the VR headset during gaming, to strategic use of shaping a city. Cities are to be seen as living adaptive organisms. Simulation can facilitate the set-up of smarter and more sustainable ways of city planning, even to the minute detail of where is the best location for a streetlight or a bus stop.[1] Similarly, and here Spadaro quotes again McLuhan, the Church should be seen in terms of its networks.[2]

The risk of one seeing the faith as an application installed in his mashup of applications, is very strong

Friesen calls this age of the Church as a complex, fluid, charismatic and evangelical age.  He notes that a lot of our emphasis should be on forming relations, which Bauman defines as “building relational paradigms.”[3] By so doing we can help build a Church described by Brewin, as an “organic, interconnected, decentralized, constructed from the bottom up, flexible, and always evolving.”[4]  Friesen speaks of a “a hub of connections.”[5]

Spadaro takes these ideas and allegorically transpose them on Google. No one goes to Google just for the sake of visiting the site, but to be directed to what is being sought. Spadaro reiterates Friesen’s idea that this is what should be the modus-operandi of the Church: answering the searches and pointing them to The Answer.  The community would thus serve as a “connective environment… for people to cluster in the name of Christ.”[6]  The Church, acting as a hub, connects the various nodes to the main Backbone.


[1] Alison Heppenstall and Nick Melleson, ‘How Big Data and The Sims Are Helping Us to Build the Cities of the Future’, The Conversation, n.d., doi:10.1186/s40163-015-0023-8.

[2] Spadaro, Cybertheology: Thinking Christianity in the Era of the Internet.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

Matthew is a Masters graduate in Informatics and is currently reading a Bachelor’s Degree in Sacred Theology. He has a strong interest in merging the tech field, particularly Artificial Intelligence and Social Media, with theology. He is also in his sixth year of formation at the Archbishop’s Seminary.

One thought on “Forming relationships

  • Reply Alexander Hili 8th March 2018 at 10:02 am

    Perhaps what is happening is that people are entirely recreating new realities and do not understand that just as the microscope and the telescope having access to the virtual reality is merely an extension of one’s reality and existence.

    What if I am, comment on is your logic in the transition from the first part of the argument to the second part. For I think historically, religion has always been that social construct that allows for unity within communities and for widespread respect towards each other. It would be interesting to see how the modern day interactions between religious bodies and the work they carry out how they could interweave to create a global movement that unites people rather than splitting them apart.

    Taking this in relation to Christianity, and the Chuch in all of its many forms there seems to be a lot of focus by the periphery and local communities to push for various aspects which do not always result in unity that is expected from the central bodies.

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