Sunday, April 20, 2008

Facebook + Flair = Community???

I've recently joined the wonderful world of Facebook due to the influence of some of my coworkers. I never was into the whole myspace thing, and wasn't sure Facebook would be any different. But, I actually really enjoy it (check out my flair!)

For those saying "Face what?" I'll give you a quick rundown. According to the site, "Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet."

A friend of mine, who is a church planter in Colorado, was also recently introduced to Facebook and posed the question: "Should the church use the internet as a community building resource?"

The internet has made life so much different in our culture. I think the church would be ignorant not to utilize this effective communication tool, but I do have a couple of cautions.

Our culture today is starving for genuine, authentic relationships. Community is what people want. Sites like Facebook offer a form of pseudo-community. Yeah, I can go visit a friend's page and hear about what movies they like, what their relationship status is, and what their highest score on Oregon Trail is (yes, you can play that too on Facebook). But, do I really know them?

I know a lot of trivial facts about them, but no matter how much I look at that page and post messages on their wall, there will be no authentic relationship. You can never replace physical presence in a relationship building scenario. God has designed us to live in community, and I believe this includes hanging out with each person. Notice that the Bible says, "Where two or more are gathered together..." Now, I'm not saying this verse is about Facebook, but it assumes face to face contact...not just email or snail mail or pony express or pigeon delivery. Paul wrote letters to churches, but he always mentioned his longing to see them face to face.

Some couples spend more time texting one another or viewing each other's Facebook to get to know one another than they do sitting on the couch and talking.

As we utilized growing technology to stay somewhat connected, let us not give up meeting together in person. Technologies that are supposed to make life easier have only made life busier and more disconnected. It might require radical measures...such as inviting a neighbor over for dinner at your house (much more conducive for relationship building than a restaurant) or detoxing from the cell phone/internet slavemaster and sitting on the couch with your wife.

Now, I'm going to stop blogging and go sit on the couch with my wife. :)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Doing an experiment...afraid?

I've been thinking a lot about evangelism lately. The problem is that it's all I've done. I haven't shared the incredible news about Jesus with anyone in a while. Sure, there are tons of excuses...I've been really busy...I live, work, and go to school in a Christian environment...I forgot to wear my lucky socks. In a recent interview I was doing, a man said to me, "Do you want to know why people don't tell others about Jesus? One reason, FEAR." It's not that we don't care about people, although that could be a possible factor. It's not because we want people to go to hell (hopefully). We are afraid. We're afraid we'll look like a looney. We're afraid they may blow us off. We're afraid they may ask a question we don't know the answer to. We're afraid we'll lead them astray. We're afraid they might get confrontational. We're afraid.

Maybe FEAR should be the one reason we should share Jesus with others. Another wise man said: "The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil" (Eccl. 12:13-14). Seems to me that one of His commandments is to make disciples.

Take a moment to be honest and answer the poll in the right-hand column. I'm doing an experiment to see how many people actually share their faith. (Note: you can go in and change your vote, so if you share with someone, come back and change it).