Tag Archives: social media

Church Community

Community. It is a nice little tag word that Christians like to use at church. “Be part of community” “Join a community group” “What I am really looking for is a community”

It is supposed to communicate a close group of people that can really share life together. Unfortunately, to commonly our communities look more like a shared social media page than an actual community.

This past Sunday while I was at church we were asked both before and after a short video to answer a prompt, “What causes you to feel / press closer to Jesus?”

“Being in nature really helps me appreciate who he is… When you almost die from….” During the conversation it appeared as though everyone discovered their hands for the first time. One person was picking at their hand. Another yawned, examining their fingers. Everyone paid just enough attention to be able to respond.

After the video the same level of involvement continued. When I pressed one couple as to what they were going to change to make Christ a priority, they listed off reasons as to why it is hard. No commitments. No confessions. No one was sharing a part of their lives with any intent to keep up with the other people, to be held accountable, or to be actually known. They were answer prompts the same way people answer Facebook’s status question, “What is on your mind?” Thrown out to an audience that won’t walk with them.

If we really want community we need to put away the status update conversations, and the when in church relationships. Status update conversations are those that you have because, ‘it is the thing to do’ like standing up or sitting down when everyone else does. ‘In church’ relationships are those you have only at church. Not the weekend. Not in evenings, and certainly not when you need support, to be held accountable, or pressed on towards Christ.

You will really know if you are actually sharing life if you go to your group of people when tragedy strikes, or when you need accountable help. If someone suddenly dies in your family, would you show up to church? I have been a part of several groups I would have. In fact, while I was part of one bible study a very emotionally traumatizing event happened. I went to community group, and slept in the corner. I was able to be un hidden processing what had happened.

Strikingly there was a moment that could have shown the church as a community. A not very old individual had died unexpectedly just a few days prior. I don’t know if the family showed up to church. I don’t know if people cried in the previous service. But I began to really wonder, would most of the families show up to share their pain, or their joys, with the church family when it happens?

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The Facebook Connection

                The Facebook Connection

                At one point, when I used Facebook I sent several dozen messages to friends at the end of a college semester encouraging them to stay strong. I also used it to keep in contact with friends that were far away. It worked like an email and I was able to encourage others while keeping up with them. However it has taken a turn. I find that most of the time when I send messages, there is either no response or a delayed one.

I don’t believe it is because anyone is ignoring me, or that they don’t like me. I find it to be because of the distraction of our current generation and the ADD. If the message is too long, or the response requires too much thought and time it takes second place to whatever else is going on. Then the business of life and the internet take over, and the relationships that are seeking real life interaction take second place to the thrill of online connection.

The thing about online conversations and connections is that the inhibitions of the brain do not kick in. People in general will release more information because  when you don’t see another person, you are not as worried about someone else thinking poorly of you etc. This is more prominent in chat conversations where it is quick and less thinking is involved. Even reading wall posts help people feel more connected with others when we read information. Furthermore the culture of the new and instant takes over, long messages are not nearly as important as the quick new details of other people.

                Also, people develop a habit of going to Facebook when they want to connect or fill a gap of loneliness. I was going into that habit to. So I got rid of mine. I have only had it active for about three days in the past two to three weeks, and I am thrilled. Whenever I want to connect with someone, or feel lonely, I call a friend. I arrange a real in person hang out and go do something. I am less distracted about wondering what is going on in people’s lives who I don’t see often and focus on the people I have a direct influence on.

                I am not saying Facebook is bad. I know many people who redeem it with encouragement and joy. However, I find that most people would be greatly benefited from having a Facebook fast. Don’t waste time on the internet, and invest it on others.

                This also means that I am trying to build this blog without Facebook, so please, tell your friends. Also, if you are redeeming Facebook, and you like anything that I have to say, recommend me. It helps.


“The Innovation of Loneliness” A Commentary

I digress today from the question of, “Are People Worth It” A friend of mine shared a very interesting video on Facebook today which is worth going over.

The Innovation of Loneliness from Shimi Cohen on Vimeo.

In the video Shimi talks about the effect social media has on loneliness, or better yet how social media can increase our loneliness. He provides some very interesting points, and I would like to take some of them just a little further.
Shimi mentions that social media is used to choose how we are perceived. Since everything is not done in real time but can be edited and changed, it can create a gap between who we really are and how we are trying to be perceived. This has some merit. Those who do try and change how they are perceived are not living honestly and even if they feel connected are alone because they are not known. (I find the notion of living honestly as a requirement for friendship and intimacy as to basic to argue here). But I find that most people on social media are pretty good at typing stuff off the cuff without editing it and letting their true selves out.
The issue of social media communication lacking the real time constraint I believe is only part of the issue. Carefully to editing material can be the real us we are trying to be and thus a real aspect of who we are. If we take time to edit grammar and what we say carefully, that is part of our personality if done right. The bigger issue is relationship communication in time and space.
Real interactions happen in space. Conversations through social media do not. I am all for conversations. I love a good conversation and that is my primary way of relating with and loving others. However, social media conversations lack the physical side of relationships. We are physical beings and our bodies carry a great deal of the relational burden. Our bodies are supposed to respond alongside our minds. Text carries mostly a mental response.
When I say something to you I am intended to illicit a response from you and I have a goal in mind for communication. I want you to laugh, empathize, share the feelings of my experience etc. I expect to see you smile, laugh, squirm or cry. I can see, hear, and sometimes touch your response. If I type something, I can’t. I am solely reliant upon my imagination to imagine your physical response. Which history tells me most humans imaginations and understanding is often flawed.
When we simply type something, we get less experience with others humanness. Our physical bodies and reactions are very important, and not having that causes a gap in our relationality. So I end with a challenge. Next time you want to like something, call a friend and tell them what you think or why you like something. Next time you want to leave a quick comment, go hang out instead. Let me know what happens.