As the inheritors of faith and the Church poised in the brink of the 21 first century ,cyber has become one the major means of communication among the Laity of the Ethiopian Church as result we have a number of blogs about and for the Church .Praise be to God we are able to get news, dialogues and articles a lot more sooner and in a more legitimate way, yet most of these blogs have anonymous owners which has forced many of us to be very skeptical about them, questioning their credibility which made the time it takes for these blogs to be well recognized and accepted more longer than it usually does .When we come to readers of these blogs, a tendency of putting comment as anonymous or using avatar names is very common. So no matter how aggravating and important the issue is, to have an open discourse has become almost impossible making one unable to determine what potential is dependable-participant if change is initiated to happen.
In its normal occurrence – cyberism, the screen cease to be a medium of communication between real people who exist elsewhere and also a place where we forward our ideas and views regarding an issue, just like we do in real world (in person and face to face interaction).The other occurrence is when a person creates a virtual character in the virtual world as proxies for themselves (avatar), so enabling their controllers to live in complete self-complacency behind the screen without being known. For instance a person can imaginatively use a phrase, name of holiday or a famous person for their avatar.
As this is not an in-depth researched writing on the original of the various reasons for why people prefer to use an avatar (second life) I would like to point out the most common one which is modesty, playing the biggest role since this has opened a loop to the rivals of the Church to use such methods to distract participants or readers from the topic of the subject that is being discussed by putting a disturbing or unrelated comment. These cyber bugs not only create a diversion but also support the erroneous act and challenges that the Church is facing by putting across their vocabulary decorated words and justifying it, hindering the formation of a strong foundation for open religious discourse that would bring about the desired change.
I would only like to point out its effect by stating a small example
A manufacturing company might hold an electronic “town hall” where employees and stakeholder can participate from any part of the world. They can use avatars or second life as long as that second life can be linked in to a person meaning an employee or stakeholder and that avatar is a registered user of that virtual conference. The company can deliver the required message to everyone without any miscommunication and misapprehension. But at the end of the day since technology does not provide or grant its reward freely and for the business to be able to utilize the power of machines and manufacturing tool, the workers have to be become part of the machinery and bend their labor in to the discipline. In short what it means is that they have to be physically present to do the work.
The Ethiopian Church, more than ever, is in need of a voice that says “NO” to all the wrong doings that have gradually worsen. The conflict among the fathers which has led to formation of an exile “synod”, the miscommunication that erupts every now and then at various Bishoprics between Bishops, clergy and the parish members, the abandoning of rural Churches and the flight of clergy because of the lack income, the uninhabited clerical schools, the muddle up administration and Hierarch and a lot more. This can only be attended by speaking up and re-involving in the ground work discipline and as the manufacturing company requires it workers to be physically present at the work place the Ethiopian Church needs a Laity that is spiritually committed, well informed and accountable that is dependable and sensitive about the faith and the well being of the Church. Avatar or Second life fail short on providing that role to the Laity since a real name and real face cannot be attached to the views and comments and discussion made.
Taking the rightful place
It is undeniable that there are individuals that have given themselves to take up their role on the internal and external challenges that the Church faces, both in real world and cyber.
For instance Dn Daniel Kibret who we all know for his books, his profound preaching and his invincible stand to the Ethiopian Church has always been an individual who forward his views and forte beliefs openly. And now he has merged the cyber world with the same tone and tune.
His blog has enormous amount of viewers and followers and the time it took the blog to be well know was very short since Dn Daniel Kibret has an established profile in the minds of public.
Even though everyone has differences on aptitude but as the children of the Ethiopian church all has one thing in common and that is the royal priesthood as mentioned in the first epistle of St.Peter, the second chapter and the ninth verse, the Laity has the obligation to take up that rightful place. As a one of progression of such spiritual and revitalized commitment I would like to recommend the following to cyber Ethiopian Church Laity:
1. Be able to put your proper name because it is the voice of the individual in the voice of a group that actually counts in an ethical religious discourse. It will also suffice a proper flow of discussion rather than one “anonymous” referring to another “anonymous”.
2. Be able to put proper identity because on doing so the discussion is given proper weight and credibility, as fictitious names are misleading whether a view or comment forwarded is the same person using different names (also known as cyber bugs) or actually a view of different individuals.
3. Be able not to be very quick-tempered while putting comment no matter how upsetting the issue might be because temper will only stir up strife.
4. Even though there would be comments that try to agitate the atmosphere, be slow to anger and try to calm the contention.
5. Be able to always remember that these are not a political but a religious sphere and words have to be chosen wisely.
Longing to here good news