The disembodied brain of Christ

Sep 9, 2020 by

By Rod Dreher, The American Conservative:

[…] I really, really hope that Southern Baptists don’t accept online church as normative. It will deform discipleship, no matter how high-quality the information transmitted from pastors over the Internet connection is.

It’s a big mistake to think of one’s church life as only receiving information about Jesus Christ and the Bible, and arranging your own thoughts and emotional reactions to it. Like I said, I was never Evangelical, but I pretty much lived that way as a Catholic — and I struggle not to live that way as an Orthodox. It’s the intellectual’s temptation: to live inside his head. The church is not the Disembodied Brain of Christ; we are the Body of Christ. Online church as a substitute for the gathering of the body forms Christian gnostics, whose minds are free from the prison of the body, from the “prison” of talking to their neighbors, from the “prison” of making an effort to get to church on Sunday morning, from the “prison” of coffee hour. Just you and Jesus, there on your sofa, with your coffee, and in your sweatpants. Download the sermon and listen to it in the afternoon, after you’ve gone golfing on Sunday morning. Optimize your consumer church experience.

“I can’t believe you saw this coming,” my Southern Baptist friend said to me. I told him that it wasn’t hard. Americans are suckers for technology, and for allowing the habitus of their lives to be dictated by technology; Christians are no different. We Christians in older churches have forms that protect us from the temptation to surrender to the convenience of online church. Evangelicals, in general, do not. I foresaw that they were going to start accepting this new mode of being not as a temporary concession to crisis, but as normal — and find a way to rationalize it. Thus:

“But as the body of Christ, there must be a willingness to do what it takes to reach as many people as possible even if it’s uncomfortable and different.”

Being the Disembodied Brain of Christ is the final step before the body dissolves into dust, and even the spirit is scattered to the winds.

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