Thursday, October 20, 2011

St. Pixels' Online Community

According to Hutchings (2011), author of “Considering Religious Community Through Online Churches”, there are multiple definitions of what a community is. “There are variations in medium, practice, community expectations and perceptions of privacy generate unique ethical considerations and opportunities for collaboration” (Hutchings, 2011, p 4). In the St. Pixel’s online Christian church, community to them is the “practice of sharing life, they do this through a network of blogs, forums, chat room events and offline meetings” (Hutchings, 2011, p10). They live out their form of online community by treating the Internet space as sacred. St. Pixels values respect, honesty and companionship in order for the participants to “seek God together” (Hutchings, 2011, p5). St. Pixels provides a space for blogging where participants come to share ones feelings with one another, which helps build relationships among the community members. In a chat room, the community comes together to worship the divine, which is meant to compare to a church service held offline. Once relationships have developed online, participants are encouraged to come together offline where they can physically meet one another. The offline impact of the St. Pixels community has a positive effect on their particular religious tradition. The offline community sets the rules and the foundation of the online community. Leaders want the online space to be considered as scared, as the offline space is, where respect and relationships are valued and important. St. Pixels provides a space where individuals can come and fulfill their religious needs online that they may have not has the chance to do so offline. A community is formed not only online, but offline as well. Through their fundamental belief of “seeking God together” by creating relationships through blogging, chat rooms, offline meetings, and other mediums to connect and build a Christian religious group.

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