A lot of verses in scripture trouble me. Sometimes I think it is because I stand in amazement at the power of God at work in the lives of those who came before me. Other times I think it’s because I am immediately convicted because of my inability to live into the commands I read. One of these verses that has always stood out and given me grief does so because of the call to the church, and not necessarily my individual self. Acts 2:44 reads, “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” All the believers? No wonder the birth of the church was an explosion. You had people who loved being together and sharing life together and it was contagious. And yet I look at the church today and I rarely get that sense of community. We somehow constitute getting together on a weekly basis for an hour or two as community and then expect ourselves to go out and be an effective witness for Christ…hmmm.
Among Merriam-Webster’s many definitions of community we find, “a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society”. How in the world are we expected to accomplish “living together” when our lives are so disjointed and individualistic? Enter the age of social media.
Now I know a lot of people like to hate on Facebook, Twitter, etc. for being the death of interpersonal relationships. But I am not entirely sure that this is true. You see, through Facebook all of a sudden I am able to know how my missionary doctor friend is doing in Ethiopia. Through Facebook learn about my friend in Nashville who is struggling through some health issues. Through Facebook I have renewed connections through partners in ministry all over the world and this is somehow the death of interpersonal relationships?
Maybe it is because we all to easily allow things to be co-opted for filth instead of for the good. Does Facebook get used for a lot of junk…yes. Do we have to buy into all of that…no. All too often I find Christians slinging mud, lodging vain protests or even occupying there time with narcissistic banter when they could be reaching out, sharing grace and humor or informing the body as to the true needs of those whom they are in community with. And lets take it even further. What if these same said Christians took the edification of the body from Facebook and other social media outlets into worship with them on a weekly basis? What if our conversations were flooded with the salt from the stories of grace from our online community?
Maybe Facebook isn’t the death of the church? Maybe, just maybe it could be a new rebirth. After all, how did you come to read this post? I guess the challenge to us is that we find ourselves renewed this week in finding common ground with the believers in a cyber driven world…and perhaps through this same world learn anew what it means to live life together.