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Virtual Virtue and Real Presence

When a "virtual presence" replaces an incarnated presence, it may be that our virtue is virtual as well.

I've had a couple of semi-sleepless nights lately because some members of my congregation got into trouble and needed my pastoral help. Their situation seems so messy, so ugly, so intractable, and I feel the weight of trying to help them get through it with their faith intact. I confess, though, that I've wished at times I could be one of those pastors who never actually has to deal with people, who simply "shows up" (interesting term) on screen, not in person.

I am certainly not against "video venues." Nor am I against Christian websites. Nor (obviously) am I against the use of books and journals (like the one that connects us here). I am for the thoughtful and careful use of technology in ministry, whether we're talking about the printing press, the telephone, radio, the internet, or satellites.

But we would be foolish to rush into new technologies unaware of their unintended consequences, the side effects that Marshall McLuhan began warning about back in the 1960s and 1970s (see Shane ...

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