Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cyberfaith Unites Prayer, Technology E-Mail Means Epistles and Other Holy Writ to Those Linked on Religious Networks

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cyberfaith Unites Prayer, Technology E-Mail Means Epistles and Other Holy Writ to Those Linked on Religious Networks

Article excerpt

Every workday Sandy Bossman slips her lunch bag under her U-shaped desk, sits down and signs onto her off-white, desk-top computer. It sits on a yellow phone book to bring it to her eye level.

Then, she prays.

She and 700 other employees at The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod headquarters in Kirkwood and other offices across the region find a few lines from the Bible on their screens when they log on each day. It is followed by a reflective prayer.

If they sign in on Sunday they'll find the lines from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians: "Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."

"I never miss reading it each morning," said Bossman, an executive secretary. "It's an important thing to me, I think about it, reflect quietly for a couple minutes. We get so busy during the day. But starting the day that way reminds me why we are here, that the reason for our work is to serve the Lord."

People from many different religions are starting to use computers to pray or to meditate on the Bible, the Koran or other spiritual books. Many are going beyond their own employee or university networks to pray and discuss religious ideas.

Nobody knows how many people are using computers to pray, but the number must run into the thousands. At least 50 religious computer networks and bulletin boards are used for research, publishing, discussion - and that often leads to prayer.

Some people use computers to pray alone. For many, computer prayer has become a group activity, linking them with believers around the office and around the world.

To many, cyberfaith is a pleasant surprise.

"I thought they would be talking about contemplative life, but I found they were praying," said Renee Bennett of University City, a grandmother and a doctoral theology student at St. Louis University.

Bennett drove her son's old Apple IIGS onto the information superhighway after she "souped it up" with a modem to learn more about the medieval world. On the Internet Listserver, she noticed a bulletin board called MertonL, named for the Rev. Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk.

"They were sharing the contemplative experience, which is why that network is set up, but they were meditating and asking members of the network to pray for each other each sunset," Bennett said. "I'd love to spend more time on it, but I am paying to use the time and I have to work on my dissertation."

Members of the Missouri Baptist Convention are linked by electronic mail with Christians in Byelorussia, formerly part of the Soviet Union.

"Almost every morning when I go to the computer there is E-mail from Byelorussia requesting prayer for specific churches or ill church members," said the Rev. David Krueger, pastor of First Baptist Church of Lynn, Mo. Often prayers fly back and forth with encouraging words, he said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.