Elders' Blog

Pastor's Note - November 4

In the last few days Mark Zuckerberg announced that the Facebook company was changing its name to ‘Meta’ (or Meta Platforms, Inc.). Facebook as the social media site will remain the same. But this renaming of the company underscores a shift in priority. They are now embarking on a venture to bring people into a fully virtual world. Tech companies have been pushing us in this direction for a while. For example, gaming companies are more fully investing in virtual reality incorporated with touch-feedback, and phones are being equipped with augmented reality, the capability to see the world with digital features added on (think of Pokemon Go, which inputs digital creatures onto your surroundings on your phone’s camera). The end goal seems to be a world where all of us can, from our home (or any other isolated location), be connected online to a fully virtual, 3d world, full of sight, sound, and even touch. We will be able to create digital avatars far more ‘fleshed out’ than our current online personas we create on sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. It is hard to wrap our head around the possibilities, or even benefits. But if we are biblically wise, we should be able to see the dangers. These advancements bring with them the inherent danger of a more disembodies world, where we no longer see each other face to face, with the ability to reach out and touch or hug. There has already been a radical shift in how we interact with each other brought upon by Covid pandemic. While distancing at times may be necessary for health precautions, long-term physical isolation is not good. We were made for physical presence. We learned this from 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, that our bodies are important. Our bodies are not a limit keeping us back from who we truly are, but a crucial part of being a person in creation. Our bodies are part of how God made us in His image. There are dangers in isolation, and part of the church’s counter-cultural witness in the years ahead may be in our emphasis that we are an embodied people, needing physical interaction. As the world races forward toward the disembodied, virtual world of the metaverse, we as the body of Christ may have to emphasize the imperative of physical presence.

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