In a marriage of Christian tradition and digital technology, Wall Street's Trinity Church is using the micro-blogging service Twitter to perform the story of Jesus Christ.
The main characters will tweet the Passion play for three hours beginning at noon on Good Friday. The feed also can be delivered to mobile devices or e-mail addresses.
You can see the twitterfeed here. At the same time, one Huffington Post blogger contemplates boiling the Haggadah, the (lengthy) text that guides the Passover Seder, down to one tweet, 140 characters; for her, it has become a personal mission over the next year.
I do appreciate the challenge of creatively capturing the transcendent and divine into a concise, typed burst, seemingly a new spiritual art-form. I also do appreciate using cutting-edge technology to communicate your religious message and try to bring people into your religious community, however online. Church attendance is dwindling, and meeting people where they are at - on their computers, during work and play - is a perfectly legitimate strategy to develop and draw in the next generation of religious adherents.
On the other hand, I think you lose much here. You lose three important aspects to religion: sacredness, tradition, and worshipful experience. The sacredness of these rituals, the sense of the momentary in-breaking of the divine into our lives, in my opinion, is lost when you don't personally experience, or take part in, the religious ritual; it is hard for me to imagine that same experience of sacredness divorced from the ceremony by space and technology. Religion is formed and informed by tradition, and the understanding and appreciation of the centuries of history, wrapped into a ritual, practiced like our ancestors, is lost when you participate on-line in 140-character sentiments. And finally, worship is not just communing with the divine, but it is communing with your fellow believers. As such, can you have worship on a computer screen by yourself? Perhaps you can, but you lose the communal nature of worship.