By far, at least in my opinion, the most influential force on people of the past 10 years has been social networking and more specifically Facebook. People spend countless hours on it, playing games, posting updates and pictures and polls, finding their friends, talking to their friends, stalking the person they’re interested in (don’t lie we’ve all done it!). I don’t have time to list everything so I’m just going to stop there. Basically we spend a lot of time on Facebook.
An article on mashable.com in September said that users on average spend 8 hours on Facebook a month. Now I know that is lopsided, cause college students spend way more that 8 hours on there. We spend countless class periods on it, not paying attention. And you know what, it’s a great tool. Connecting people over long distances. Allowing them to share their lives, thoughts and so much more. As Christians it has a greater use in that we can use it to spread the gospel to every people, tongue and nation.
But is that what we’re doing?
How are we really spending our time and is it the best use of it.
During Jesus time community really was your own little town. Women went to the well early and talked on the way and no doubt hung around talking till their friends were finished.
“Aren’t you gonna be late getting home?” “Oh, Simon isn’t even up! He won’t even know I’m late.” As she stands there hand on her hip.
Community was an essential part of daily life and it culminated on Sabbath with everyone gathering to hear the Rabbi read from the words of their ancestors. People were in close proximity in towns, they were clustered around wells and lakes and on the shores of seas. But during that time race, class, and gender segregated the Jews.
But for Jesus, this is not the way He wanted community. The early church broke all these traditions, mixing everyone together: Jew, Gentile, rich, poor, man, woman, etc.
Paul writes in Acts 2:42, and they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Jesus was all about meeting people face to face, where they were at; He wanted to look them in the eye, to actually listen to what they had to say and then reply.
There really isn’t any substitute to having a great conversation face to face is there? So I have a question.
Would Jesus have Facebook?
Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying Facebook is bad. But too much of anything is, even something good. But what has social networking made us? People rarely connect on a deeply personal level and it’s only at that level that we can truly get to know someone and join them in their pains and joys.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. – Hebrews 13:16
We’ve become a superficial, individualistic society. Just look at what you see on your Facebook feed. People clamoring to promote their lives, their ideas on everything from politics to how cute cats are. With all this talking going on, is anyone really listening? Think about walking into a big room with everyone you know in it and they’re all talking at once. Not to each other but just….talking. They’re trying to show you things, babies, cars, what they had for lunch. Annoying right?
Oh I forgot something: you can’t leave. There are no doors or windows in this room and people keep showing you things and they’re getting louder.
Now imagine this, you’re sitting in a chair at a coffee shop outside. It’s a warm, sunny day with a nice breeze and you’re sitting across from one of your best friends. You’re both taking turns talking, listening to what the other has to say and responding with an actual coherent thought. That’s much more pleasant right? You know you’re being listened to and getting feedback on what you’re saying. You can see your friend is taking their time before answering and you know they care about you.
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts. – Acts 2:46
In Greek the word for community is Koinonia and it has many different meanings: Intimate participation, fellowship, sharing, participation and contribution. Community was a personal thing for the early church. But for us it has become where you sit in church, whose house you go to after to eat and critique the sermon and music. With Facebook we’re now able to join in a much larger conversation about God, life and faith as well. But are we neglecting the community in which we live? Are we just staying inside our little faith community? With people who look like us and drive similar cars and dress the same? We are called to be the salt of the earth, but salt doesn’t do anyone any good still in the saltshaker. Jesus broke bread with the social outcasts of his day; he looked them in the eye. He didn’t stand on a soapbox on a corner yelling out His message. He sat with people on a quiet hillside over looking the fields. He spoke with sincerity, authority and kindness and people listened. He in turn, looked them in the eyes and listened to them.