Saturday, December 16, 2006

The UU Church of Second Life

I'm not playing computer games for Advent (at least, not too much), but I have received such fascinating news from the UU Church of Second life, that I must at least blog about computer games.

Second Life is one of several exceedingly popular MMO-RPG's. (Massive, Multiplayer, Online Role Playing games. Remember that.) where players create a character with a persona and engage with other online players in a variety of virtual activities. I signed up a month or so back, and the only thing I managed to do besides dress my character was find the Unitarian Universalist Church of Second Life and sign up. There was a vast silence from them until today. Apparently, I signed up to get messages by email from the group and that feature was broken and is now fixed. (I once was lost, and now I'm found...)

Anyway, it appears that they meet (on line) pretty regularly on Thursday nights and their (virtual) membership has shot up to 80 in the past few months. So....get this...

They want to affilliate with the UUA. They've got the numbers. They are thinking about forking over US$ for UUA dues (most transactions in Second Life are accomplished with SL$). They are considering the possibility of officers and bylaws to make themselves "Kosher" in the eyes of the UUA so that they can apply to be a real (virtual) church.

Oh, what I would give to be a fly on the wall in the offices of the UUA (nice people, but it's a seriously stuffy place) when they get this proposal. I can hardly wrap my mind around it, myself.

We Albuquerquians think we're starting a pretty way-out experiment in reaching UU's in small communities with our iMinistry program; here's a truly far out experiment in reaching the next generation. No doubt the lawyers will say that the UUA Bylaws don't permit virtual members. but I do hope that someone can be found at the UUA to deal gently and knowledgeably with the Second Lifers and their UU Church.

I wish them well and am looking forward to finding them after Christmas.


Chris Walton said...

Ooh, how very Church 2.0!

Incidentally, my colleagues and I at UU World have been trying to figure out how the magazine might be useful, usable, or perhaps made interesting to Second Lifers (granting, of course, our limited time and financial constraints). I was given a tour of the lovely UU church property in Second Life, and we visited the Second Life headquarters of Wired Magazine, but I confess I don't have any great ideas about how to connect. You might ask the folks there whether they can imagine a mash-up or subscription in Second Life.

And if they really do file affiliation papers with the UUA, do let me know!

Nobody Fugazi said...

Well, it's not really a MMORPG unless you want it to be. You *can* role play within SecondLife, and quite a few do - but it's not just that. Calling it a virtual world or synthetic world might be better.

This is pretty interesting... but I would avoid Church 2.0. '2.0' has a certain 'blech' to it, Chris. :-)

Christine Robinson said...

I would imagine that the Second World'ers would welcome an article in the UU World about them and their game, and what their version of church is like.

Jon Angel said...

Hi Christine, we grew up in the same church, and I'm struck by googling on Second Life and Unitarian and finding your blog first.

I'm delighted to find a UU presence in 2nd world.

Since I made a commitment to raise a Jewish family when my wife and I married in 1990, I've found my UU nourishment on the web. First was the listserv UUS-L, and an early Yahoo group called unitarian-universalist I think. Then came UUHS-CHAT and some other UU-sponsored lists. Since 2000 or so I've been very involved in the LRY Reunion on the web, orig. an eGroup and now a Yahoo group.

I'll be joining SL and look forward to what I find there, and what you have to say after this season. I like your elevator speech!

Christine Robinson said...

Hi, Jon, I think I remember you. Good luck with Second Life!

Joshua Gruber said...

Okay, I just want to point out that Second Life isn't quite as popular as their marketing department has been making them sound.,1,3135510.story?coll=la-headlines-business&ctrack=1&cset=true

But if I played, I would totally be there. I miss the small fellowship where we talk about things rather than sitting on our rears listening through service.