Second Life | Second Incarnation?

I was curious. I had to have a look. So ‘KFrank Repine’ entered the Second Life universe and judderingly wandered around trying to make some sense of it all. I couldn’t. So I walked into the sea and logged off. Have I drowned now?

Part of me simply wants to mock this whole world, but I’m aware that would be foolish. For one thing, there are many in the disabled community who are finding it a hugely releasing experience. For another, there are clearly millions of people involved. One might cynically say they are all a bit dysfunctional in some way, but they clearly can’t be. Linden Labs have tapped into something.

Secondlifechurch2One of the things I tried to find out in my brief foray away from real life was whether there was a church in this new world. I didn’t get to one, but certainly I’ve tracked one down on line. It looks absolutely terrifying. Notice the rigid rows of seats and utter darkness inside. Some kind of fantasy going on here.

So… does anyone know if there is ’emergent’ activity going on in Second Life?

The question I was left with was: should there be?

Should we be encouraging people to meet more ‘virtually’, or should we be trying to draw people back to a better appreciation of their first life?

A recent radio report told the story of a guy in SL who paid someone to build a skyscraper for him. He then went inside and got the guy to pull it down around his ears. He wanted to experience what his brother had been through at 9/11. Just before it happened, a crowd gathered. ‘You can’t do this,’ some bayed, ‘this isn’t what SL is for! There should be no suffering!’ Others screamed that this was precisely what SL was for. Someone asked ‘I want out – Where’s my Third Life?

The nasty truth is, all of life is mirrored in SL. There have been reports of rape, and child abuse, and theft and all manner of violence and corruption.

Where should the church be in this? Should we just leave people to it, and bemoan their sad lives?

I had this funny idea of a virtual incarnation. What if Jesus turned up on SL? What if God hacked it? A baby was born, and grew up there and went around doing good… preaching that there was more to life, that they needed to be born again… back into their original, first life, blessing? Doubtless they’d be murdered. Doubtless resurrection would be no problem.

I guess someone’s going to have to log on and go help these people. If we don’t, may even the poorly rendered stones will grow speech bubbles and shout out…


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12 responses to “Second Life | Second Incarnation?”

  1. For “Rising from the Ashes: Rethinking Church,” I looked into this a bit as my editor wodnered if I should include an interview with someone from Second Life. We found and a few others but he concluded this was too “out there” for now.
    I set up a MySpace page to promote my first book. The conversations have run the gamut but I do see that as a place where Christians have have a viable presence.

  2. Vaux just let slip. Perhaps we should have kept it and opened a slackers church next door to them ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I know Jesus has a MySpace page… with apparently 12 new friend a day…!

  3. I had a similar experience. I logged on about a year ago and tried to strike up conversations. Maybe I would have spent more time in SL if 1) I had more time: I didn’t have a job, and didn’t have kids. and 2) Had a faster computer. Even with brand new MacBook Pro, I still experienced so much video lag that it wasn’t enjoyable at all, but instead was downright frustrating.
    Wired recently ran an article about a woman who spent over 60 hours a week trying to hack the lead singer of Linkin Park’s computer. She would arrive at work, work for 15 minutes, and then spend 8+ hours accessing Chester Bennington’s files. She would then return home and continue with the hacking. I imagine that she is representative of some SL users, people working in jobs and living lives that don’t satisfy…it sounds like people who need to learn about abundant living. I’m just not sure if SL is the place to teach them about it. Not that some shouldn’t venture into SL to try to start up intelligent and thoughtful conversation, but maybe it highlights the need for the Church to produce people who actually care about getting to know their coworkers and neighbors. Rather than jumping into Linden Lab’s virtually reality in order to talk to someone, maybe we should be concentrating on knocking on our physical neighbors’ doors first.

  4. “Rather than jumping into Linden Lab’s virtually reality in order to talk to someone, maybe we should be concentrating on knocking on our physical neighbors’ doors first.”
    Totally agree. But just wonder if that might, in 10 years time, appear a little naive. We have to go where people are… but does that mean their darkened room with their PC? Would they even answer the door? Or do we have to go where their fantasy selves are first?

  5. I wouldn’t do this kind of ministry without a trained counselor by my side. I feel for person whose life gets to the point where they have to pretend to be someone else to feel alive. But I don’t know how to help them.
    There’s also the need to safeguard oneself. Also, I’m sure you heard about the arrest of sex offenders using MySpace and there at least there’s some semblance of trying to institute controls.
    BTW-There are a ton of Jesus and God MySpace pages – added them as I’m promoting my book. They range from really goofy to full of hate against the church. What’s telling are the number of Christians who slam me because I decided to accept ads form porn stars – I do NOT let them post comments but something tells me Jesus would have Ron Jeremy as his friend. And I deleted the few that were hard core that I know about.

  6. I meant “from porn stars” and persons not person in line one – my bad for not spell checking first.

  7. I have a quaker friend who is part of a quaker meeting at Second Life – including the long periods of silence.

  8. After reading your post, I had to check it out for myself. It is an fascinating as it is frustrating and it is clear that thousands exist as they have always wanted to here. I looked into the churches and found an article telling of how spent $5-10k building the virtual church on it’s own island, called Experience Island. I had to check it out as well. It as a similar look and feel to the campus here in AZ, but was even better, complete with doughnuts/coffee in the lobby, multiple plasma tv’s where you could watch past video sermons, a kids area (not sure why you would need this in Second Life), and a complete worship center where it all goes down on Sundays. It was unreal. As I walked into the lobby I was even greeted by Lifechurch members who obviously hang out there to meet people who wander in.
    I am not sure what to think of it, but I am with Kester in not wanting to be naive about it all as a space in need of the church as any other.
    I am going to try to catch an actual service this Sunday as I’ve read they are often disrupted by streakers! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Mate I’d love to join you!
    What time you going? And where is it? Sounds like fun… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. The services are at 8am and 9:30am PDT on Sunday morning. So 4 & 5:30pm London Time. I can’t make the earlier one, but will plan on dropping by for the 9:30(5:30) service if you can make it. Here’s a link to the location so others can join us:
    Kester, I sent you a friend request so we should be able to connect easily once online. My name is Depak Soderstrom.

  11. Great work… I’ll really try to be there. And I promise to streak!

  12. there is plenty of christian activity in second life, and lifechurch is the epitome of what most are trying to do.
    this experimentation that you are trying – visiting a lifechurch meeting – I have tried, and it came up wanting. IMHO, groups such as this miss the point of second life, and as usual project the common modern perspective of what church should look like without considering the culture of the community it is established in.
    The is some EC activity in SL, not not much. Molten Meditation have a small spot, along with an ’emerging’ group, but there never seems to be anyone around.
    I have found that by far the most authentically spiritual place in Second Life is a virtual monastery called Felix Meritus – and that’s probably because it was established by a guy who isn’t himself a christian.