A host of both very old and entirely new liturgical practices have arisen in digital mediation, from the live-streaming of worship services and "pray-as-you-go" apps, to digital prayer chapels, virtual choirs and online pilgrimages. Cyberspace now even hosts communities of faith that exist entirely online. These digitally mediated liturgical practices raise challenging questions: Are worshippers in an online chapel really a community at prayer? Do avatars that receive digital bread and wine receive communion? @ Worship proposes a nuanced response to these sometimes contentious issues, rooted in familiarity with, and sustained attention to, actual online practices.
Four major thematic lines of inquiry form the structure of the book. After an introductory chapter the following chapters look at digital presence, virtual bodies, and online participation; ecclesial communities in cyberspace; digital materiality, visuality, and soundscapes; and finally the issues of sacramental mediation online. A concluding chapter brings together the insights from the previous chapters and maps a way forward for reflections on digitally mediated liturgical practices.
@ Worship is the first monograph dedicated to exploring online liturgical practices that have emerged since the introduction of Web 2.0. Bringing together the scholarly tools and insights of liturgical studies, constructive theology and digital media theories, it is vital reading for scholars of Theology and Religion with as well as Sociology and Digital Culture more generally.
Introduction: The Why, How, and What of Studying @ Worship
1 Virtual Bodies, Digital Presence, and Online Participation
2 Ecclesial Communities @ Worship
3 Virtual "Stuff": Materiality – Visuality – Soundscapes
4 Sacramental Bits and Bytes
The Liturgy, Worship and Society series provides a library of innovative scholarship in liturgical studies at a time of vital changes in liturgical life and vigorous debates in academia. The series highlights contemporary work in liturgical studies, attuned both to traditional scholarly inquiry and to recent and emerging questions. In particular, the series is committed to exploring the relationship between liturgical life in Christian churches worldwide and the broader cultural and social contexts in which worship takes place. By offering a thorough grounding in the historical and theological foundations of liturgy as well as determined attention to contemporary developments and concerns, the Liturgy, Worship and Society series is set to make a vital contribution not only to scholarship in liturgical studies but also to the practice of Christian worship in the world today.