The Lovheim reading raised some interesting questions about how online religious culture can shape the way we identify and relate to religions. One specific question was "Does one's online religious identity have to be connected to a specific offline religious tradition or group to be seen as truly "authentic"?" This is a question that I was interested in and wanted to explore
One example that I was able to find was NewSpring Church. This is a type of Church that we talked about in class where there is one main campus and many Satellite churches where the sermon is broadcasted. This church also offers its sermons, lesson plans, and music online.
Here is the info paragraph from the website-http://www.newspring.cc/newhere/
"We are NewSpring Church and we exist to make the name of Jesus Christ famous, one life at a time. You can join us on Sundays in Anderson, Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Greenville, SC, and live online as God moves us forward to spread His Kingdom."
In this sense, I believe it is possible to attend an online only religious service and for it to be completely and totally authentic. The online viewers are seeing the exact same thing that the physical members are seeing. If they are watching it live, they are even seeing it at the same time! This is just one example of how an online community can substitute for a physical church community.