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CybertheologyThinking Christianity in the Era of the Internet$
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Antonio Spadaro

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823256990

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823256990.001.0001

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The Mystical and Connective Body

The Mystical and Connective Body

(p.29) Chapter 3 The Mystical and Connective Body

Antonio Spadaro

Fordham University Press

In McLuhan’s terms, the Internet is a ‘hot’ place, where people vent their emotions, sometimes unwisely. Spadaro utilizes a variety of scholars’ works and Catholic Church documents to warn against the dangers of letting Internet relationships take over from real ones. He adds, though, that they can also assist relationships – make us feel close to friends and relations who are actually distant from us geographically. He enlarges on this by discussing the possibilities that are offered us to find, on our smartphones or tablets, any of our ‘friends’ who may be close by, so that we can meet them in the real world. Extrapolating from this notion, he asks if this will change the ways that churches work in the future. Will we have hub churches, for instance? Will the idea that is known as the ‘emerging church’ movement, a sort of open source church, become more prevalent? Will some form of ‘Christ commons’ develop? Will this stress, caused by a logic of connections, ultimately, help the Church to understand more profoundly her nature as a universal instrument of ‘reconciliation’ and of ‘communion’? This notion of a more ‘open source’ type of Church may cause problems in the Catholic Church, which is hierarchical, since the Web is not. As the Web may flatten out difference, it may risk becoming an alien space. On the Web, the Church is called to broadcast content, but also to ‘witness’ in the context of broader relationships. Pastors and others must realize that they are not just preaching to the converted, but also to those of other religions and those with no faith at all.

Keywords:   Marshall McLuhan, Catholic Church, Web, Preaching, Faith

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