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Hallo again to all.A Marconi  telegraph key

This week marks the start of our ninth year of operation; Anglicans Online has outlasted most dot-coms and many big-budget websites. You can see from this four-year histogram that our readership has climbed to more than 200 thousand. (If you'd like to learn about the beginnings of AO, see the bottom of the menu on the left for a link.)

As much as we'd like to believe that we could take credit for this, we know we are just beneficiaries of a much greater change. It was one hundred years ago last week that the first real message was sent by radiotelegraph across the Atlantic ocean. A hundred years later, we find that we are able to communicate with many thousands of people with very low operating expenses, because of the nature of our medium. That medium enables us to offer advertisements in our Vacancies Centre entirely free, and we hope that you can help support us by making a donation or buying from our shop.

Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian professor and amateur theologian, anticipated the effect of electronic communication on churches and religion. While he is most famous for his opinions about the effect of radio and television on society, he also wrote about the effect of electronic communication on the church. His children have published a posthumous book of his religious writings, The Medium and the Light. Its decades-old content seems fresh and new and its chapter titles seem snatched from our daily news: 'The De-Romanization of the American Catholic Church'; 'The Church's understanding of media'; 'The Christian in the electronic age'.

But the Nazi leader Albert Speer asserted that mastery of electronic communication systems was crucial to Hitler's dictatorship*. Most technology is morally neutral, but adaptable to the needs of any point in the moral spectrum. McLuhan writes:

In a certain way, I also think that this could be the time of the Antichrist. When electricity allows for the simultaneity of all information for every human being, it is Lucifer's moment. He is the greatest electrical engineer.

Technically speaking, the age in which we live is certainly favourable to an Antichrist. Just think: each person can instantly be tuned to a 'new Christ' and mistake him for the real Christ. At such times it becomes crucial to hear properly and to tune yourself in to the right frequency**.

Godspeed, by Rockwell KentIf you look hard enough, you can find organized electronic communication conveying every imaginable point of view, used to make every imaginable argument. It is easy to be extreme and even easier to have a hidden agenda. We are not so bold as to believe that we are immune to listening to the wrong Christ; we hope we are never smug. We listen carefully, try hard to hear properly, and keep our parish, not our website, as the community centre of our faith and worship. And as we begin the ninth year of Anglicans Online, we entreat you: follow the light.

See you next week. And a blessed AD 2003 to us all!

Brian Reid's signature
Cynthia McFarland
Brian Reid

Last updated: 29 December 2002

*Speer, Albert. Inside the Third Reich. Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1970. 520-521.

**Babin, Pierre. Autre homme, autre chrétien à l'âge électronique. Lyon: Editions du Chalet, 1977. Translated by Wayne Constantineau.

©2002 The Society of Archbishop Justus, Ltd