Monday, July 6, 2009

My Wonder Woman Weekend

The virtual world, Second Life, has been around for a couple of years which, in Internet terms, makes it old news and ancient history. Nevertheless, Second Life recently popped up on my personal radar. I have Twitter to thank for that.

More specifically, my thanks go to a group of gal pals active in Twitter's healthcare social media community and a New Zealand-based Anglican priest. My gals pals decided we ought to change our avatars to images of Wonder Woman for a weekend. Fr. Bosco Peters tweeted a link to his post about virtual sacraments.

I loved my weekend as Wonder Woman. Judging from tweets about using magic bracelets to ward off ridiculous demands for ROI measurements, so did everyone else. Dealing with the healthcare industry seemed so much easier in that persona, thus providing a glimpse of what might motivate anyone's participation in Second Life. Maybe it would be easier to work in healthcare communications over there? And, gee, what would participating in church community be like?

This kicker from Fr. Peters' post, "Virtual Eucharist: Can sacraments work in the virtual world?" has further piqued my curiosity about such possibilities:
"What we need is not a parodying in the virtual world of that which is particular to Real Life -- we need to discern appropriate ways of mission and ministry in and through the virtual world that may very well be significantly different to what we can do in the Real World. It is that which is its blessing and its challenge."
While, I'm not rushing to create a Second Life, I do find myself pondering how to make imagination, creativity, and innovation more possible in this one. I'm also wondering why, after I'd restored my usual head shot after my weekend as Wonder Woman, someone on Twitter asked, "Are you a nun? Or just a devout woman?"


  1. Interesting on several levels. If "Wonder Woman = nun" in someone's free association, perhaps things are looking up. And thanks to the link to sacraments and spiritual life in virtual worlds. I'm a long time resident (read "user") of Second Life, and I've come to believe there's a lot of constructive applications to plenty of real-world priorities including but not limited to spiritual upbuilding and evangelization. As far as I can see, no one is doing a stellar job of it yet, but I'm pretty sure it can be done.

    The obstacle for some people is that many bring fairly stereotyped expectations ("a bunch of gamers", "obsessed techno-nerds", etc.) to Second Life if they've heard of it at all. But the chance to connect in new ways in a robustly interactive space has big potential.

    By the way, I posted more of my thoughts on Christian life in Second Life in a comment on Fr. Peter's post. And, as a consultant, I very much want to get my hands on one of those magic bracelets.

  2. I have no real knowledge of Second Life other than what I have heard. I know that Rev. Mark Brown (who I know via Bosco Peters connections) has a cathedral on Second Life.

    I have long been connected to Bosco online and that post certainly got a lot of people thinking.

    After sending it to a few Catholic priest friends, I got one very angry missive back from one of them.

    No substitute for real presence, but something is clearly happening out here in regard to sacramental faith.

    I suppose I have gone off topic, haven't I???

  3. Dear SEB,
    There was a topic? All kidding aside, I'm thrilled to generate conversation in any direction. Wait. That might be a lie. I don't especially like getting smashed and bashed.

    Re: the angry priest. He would do well to simmer down and notice that, as you point out, something is clearly happening out here.

    While I agree that there's no substitute for real presence and would question the validity of receiving sacraments in a cyber-environment, we/they simply must acknowledge that "church" is no longer a building and to limit it to that is hardly evidence of big, deep faith.

  4. It is interesting, just read an article on about Tradition and Revolution in Catholic Church by Thomas Merton. Bringing the church in cyberspace may well be revolutionary.

    Divine Office Podcast

  5. My grandmother and husband's grandmother both watched Mass on TV Sunday morning. Since my grandmother wasn't Catholic she'd cut off a piece of her homemade bread (and I'd put money down that she buttered it) and used that as her sacriment. So cyber church is an obvious step in a direction. Which step, I'm not sure.
    As for Wonder Woman, I stopped believing when Gloria Steinem wrote that she was her female role model as she grew up...then came Ms Magazine. UGH! Poor Wonder Woman had no idea who she was inspiring with her bondaged breasts and sorority sisters!!

  6. Cool post!
    I regularly say please don't use: just / merely/ only / simply etc.
    merely a story
    just a metaphor
    only a symbol

    just a devout woman

    keep working on that imagination, creativity, and innovation


  7. I was once on a panel that was introduced as "Three women religious and three religious women." Yep. Six of us altogether.


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