Tuesday, June 9, 2009
From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" department (England Bureau)
No more haven't-got-time-to-get-to-Mass misery! Bishop Jonathan Blake of the Open Episcopal Church is offering "Host in the post", the genuine body and blood of Christ on your doormat for just £2 to cover postage and packing.
The theologian John Drane has written about "the McDonaldisation of the church", so maybe the Dominos Pizza-ization of the church was only a matter of time. Delightfully whacky as home delivery eucharist sounds, it's only the latest step in experiments in adapting Christianity to a changing world.
Time was, of course, when church was somewhere you generally had to go to get the benefit of it – unless you could persuade the priest you were close enough to death to bring it to you. But since the early days of radio we've had hymns and sermons beamed into our houses.
More recently websites have experimented with online confession, and offering a "sacred space" for communal prayer from the convenience of your own desk. The Blessed Sacrament Webcam allowed visitors to look at pictures, updated once a minute, of a chalice in a box in Florida whenever they felt the need.
There are now churches that only exist on the internet, such as St Pixels, where, as you would expect services focus more on prayers, short sermons and liturgy than on sacraments or singing.
But every technology has its limitations, and its likely to be a good while before we can download wafers. The internet maybe making us all into consumers, but there are limits. So it's back to the postbag.