Time, Space, and the Study of God

If we agree that theology (the study of God) takes place best in community with believers, then we should build community and live in it. In today’s world, that’s not just people in our local church, but those that take their faith in Jesus Christ all over the world.Matrix 1After accepting the above, let us chart the methods whereby we build community (and study theology) along two dimensions, time and space. This gives us a simple little Boston Matrix that has time (same and different) on the vertical axis and space (same and different) on the horizontal.

Investigating each, we see that same time / same place is met by face-to-face Bible study, different time / same place is met by a library or similar physical repository of sermons and knowledge, and different time / different place is met by blogs, discussion boards, and email.

Matrix 2The opportunity – I think – comes when we interact with others at the same time in different places. Right now we have chat and phone for that, and that’s not enough.

I solved this same problem at a previous company) through a T.120 / H.323 sharing network. This took video conferencing, application sharing, and threaded chat and added them to the already existing discussion boards and other online repositories (knowledge management). Then, to bridge cultural gaps, we added human beings with subject matter knowledge and who had lived in the cultures they were bridging.

I see that this same method could be effective with same time / different place Bible study. Online resources available to everyone in that study, simultaneous study using the same resources with voice, video, and typed chat all recorded and moderated by someone well-versed in the topic at hand. These moderators could be volunteers and we could build the system and charge a nominal amount for access… running a 501(c)3 perhaps.

I honestly think this vision can “move” today and will be immediately relevant in bridging the Atlantic, and could perhaps result in a worldwide church study system and theological information sharing across languages and class barriers.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 14th, 2007 at 6:35 and is filed under Technology, Theology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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