As I write this, I am at the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. But this is not a post about the General Convention, except by way of comparison.
There is a fascinating discussion going on right now on Quora asking what will the Internet be like in 2020. To me it begs the question, "What will the Church look like in 2020?"
This General Convention is ripe for discussing this question, and in fact it is passionately engaged with it. But I wonder if our discussion is keeping pace with the world?
Here are some ways that people are envisioning the Internet just eight years from now:
- The Internet isn't focused on a computer or device, but is instead "everywhere"
- People are connected to each other as well as "things" via the Internet
- All of this occurs through chips embedded in the brain
To me, this will have tremendous implications on our understanding of ministry and mission. Just think of its impact on what it means to be healed. A paraplegic would no longer need to have physical mobility restored; but rather through an embedded brain chip, augmented reality and pervasive inter-connectivity, she would be able to experience the world as an able-bodied person does.
Think of its impact on cosmetics and beauty. A 60 year old woman could create and project the 25 year old face and body she once (or maybe never) had. If our self-images become so virtual and plastic, does that impact what it means to say we are made in the image of God?
One writer on Quora opines that in eight years we will be able "to create and construct almost anything. Using the web to collaborate and create a full virtual world in seconds." What need will there be for physical churches when we can "tweet up" in the virtual cathedrals of our collective minds?
What do you think? Given the pace of the world, what will the Church look like in 2020? What should it look like?