Virtual Community

Can community be achieved virtually?

It’s a topic that’s been in recent news in Christian circles with the acquisition of “The City” by Zondervan. It was also brought up today, in brief, during one of my Systematic Theology classes.

It’s been something I’ve been pondering as I have been thinking about the redemptive purposes of Facebook & other social networking sites (and the redeeming value of the internet, in general). My conclusion? I’d like to think that real community can only happen in honest relationship with others. Now, if this is achieved through honest relationships in online communities, then I think virtual community can be achieved. But I doubt that this would hold up very long, because there are too many walls that one could hide behind in these virtual settings (not to say there aren’t any masks one could have in face-to-face interactions, either).

All that to say, I’m not made up in my mind about all this stuff yet. But I thought it was interesting enough to throw it out there. I’m interested in what other people think.

Can community be acheived virtually? Ought the Body of Christ seek virtual communities as a viable option?


One Comment on “Virtual Community”

  1. HJ says:

    Virtual communities may be better for some who don’t have a problem sharing with people they don’t know as well, but have a hard time confessing things to their close friends/peers for fear of judgment. One also has a larger pool of individuals he/she may choose to trust (albeit it may be hard to know how trustworthy they are). More convenient and more time to think what one wants to say.

    On the other hand, most communication is non-verbal. Sometimes the only way to dig into the deeper/harder issues is to view contradictions in what they say from how they’re saying it and probe around there. Discussing hard issues and celebrating victories can/should only be done in person IMO and they’re the crux of having a community.

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