Repeat after me: Online community is real community. Online church is real church.
The Disabled community has known this for ages. Instead of constantly opining about how doing church online just isn’t the same, why don’t we learn from those who’ve been doing community online well for years?
We have the gift of being able to gather in time even if not in space, to see each other’s faces and pray in unison and hear others’ voices alongside our own.
Sure, I miss being in the building, but I love not having to figure out whether I have the spoons for church!
I love that I can join in without doing the weird calculus of “If I go to church will I be able to also do the food prep/laundry/whatever that has to happen for me to work this week?”
When Xians say that we’re supposed to gather in community, yes—but digital community IS community. We ARE praying in community when we do Zoom church. The fact that it doesn’t look or feel the same as in-person church doesn’t make it not real.
Church SHOULD be happening online, pandemic or no. And that should include ways for online participants to lead, and for others to know they’re present in the community. Watching the service live is a great first step, but it’s not enough.
And if we take accessibility and inclusivity seriously we will pursue meaningful models of digital church rather than just being sad that we can’t be together in a building.