I’ve now had the opportunity to sample how Christian worship is conducted in Second Life. I find that my head goes through some mental calisthenics that threaten to stand in the way of truly enjoying the worship experience.
A lot of premeditated thought goes into making my avatar behave the way I would were I actually on that round rug deep under the water. Barring the fact that I would drown to death, that is.
Take for instance a Bible study led by Zang Itano. When Zang leads us in a prayer, I would have to press Escape twice to get my follow cam back to its home position two meters behind my avatar and then hold down Alt and click a space immediately in front of me to make the avatar bow his head. When Zang asks, “Amen?”, looking for agreement, I would type “/yes”, triggering a programmed gesture that makes the avatar nod his head.
Or, take for instance a Praise & Worship service led by AcousticEnergy Nitely. I would have to fish a special animation out of my Inventory called Worship 1.1 and play it to make the avatar raise his paws to heaven and sway side to side.
To make a long story short, my head is still too much involved in the nuts and bolts of digital puppetry to really lose itself in the worship experience. It’s a lot of work—brainwork—to make Skye Vanistok do what comes so naturally to my real body.
So the question that comes to me is this: Is it really worship, this pulling the strings thing that doesn’t really let you feel it?