Creating Church Online Ritual, Community and New Media
Online churches are internet-based Christian communities, pursuing worship, discussion, friendship, support, proselytization, and other key religious goals through computer-mediated communication. Hundreds of thousands of people are now involved with online congregations, generating new kinds of ritual, leadership, and community and new networks of global influence.
Creating Church Online constructs a rich ethnographic account of the diverse cultures of online churches, from virtual worlds to video streams. This book also outlines the history of online churchgoing, from its origins in the 1980s to the present day, and traces the major themes of academic and Christian debate around this topic. Applying some of the leading current theories in the study of religion, media and culture to this data, Tim Hutchings proposes a new model of religious design in contexts of mediatization, and draws attention to digital networks, transformative third spaces and terrains of existential vulnerability. Creating Church Online advances our understanding of the significance and impact of digital media in the religious and social lives of its users, in search of new theoretical frameworks for digital religion.
Introduction: Welcome to the Online Church
1 A Brief History of Cyberchurch
2 Making Sense of Online Churches
3 Methodology: How to Study an Online Church
4 Church of Fools
6 St Pixels
7 The Anglican Cathedral of Second Life
8 Church Online at LifeChurch.tv
9 Creating Church Online: Media Design and Media Logic
10 Being Church Online: Networks and Existential Terrains
Conclusion: What Happened to the Online Church?