As you have no-doubt seen, the Church of England has announced that they are offering prayers through voice-activated virtual assistants. Whilst many have expressed amusement or bemusement at this initiative, few have adequately grappled with the deep questions it raises.
So, I am thrilled to announce that next month I will be hosting a conference, entitled: Praylexa: A Theology of Priesthood for the Digital Age.
In this timely and ground-breaking day conference, some of the greatest minds of our generation will grapple with the big questions. Speakers are TBC (although if my invitations fail to elicit responses, fear not, I will happily cover all the speaking responsibilities) but the sessions will include:
• Imago Ai: Must all priestly aspects of the Creation Mandate be performed by image bearers?
• The Priesthood of all Devices: Are we on the cusp of a new Digital Reformation?
• ‘Our Programmer, who art in Silicon Valley’: Does God answer prayers generated by AI?
• The Bitcoin in the Phishes Mouth: Reflections on Tithing and Cryptocurrency
• ‘I do not permit Alexa to have authority over a man’: A Complementarian response to men using female-voiced virtual assistants.
In order to be as inclusive as possible, we will offer two ticket types. ‘Analogue’ delegates will experience live worship, led by a human being, and be served communion from an actual fleshly hand. ‘Digital’ delegates will only be required to attend for 5 minutes of the day conference. They will be served bread and wine from a vending machine, and all the recorded worship and talks will be automatically uploaded to their smartphones, for them to enjoy in isolation.
Registration will open very soon; booking forms will be available from Christian bookshops on your local High Street. We hope you will join us, for what I’m sure will be a Siri-ously thought-provoking day.