After reading about fellowship and technology (see my previous book reviews Unashamed, Life in Community, and The Wired Soul), I have been influenced to consider the importance of balancing both. I don’t want to appear as If I am only judging others. Of course, after a statement like that, you can assume that I am about to do just that, judge others. Think with me, if you don’t mind, without getting your feelings hurt or feeling judged.
When you scroll down your Facebook page, what do you see, what do you read? I see a lot of complaining, a lot of anger. People complain about government, about other people, and complain about the way other people behave. I have read about the superiority of this group and that group, I see arguments about religion and politics, among Christian people who assume that their views are the best and most correct. I see plenty of propaganda and rhetoric. I see name-calling and mud-slinging. People become courageous on Facebook, of course, similar conversation takes place during face-to-face communication. Because we gossip about people whom we don’t know (or people we do know), when we laugh with our friends (or other friends) about the arguing and criticism that we engage on social networking. We have to ask ourselves, is social networking spiritually healthy? Excuse my negativity, please.
What is the point? Our engagement and participation on social networking will overlap our face-to-face fellowship with other believers. I see posts about what folks are cooking for dinner, but no mention of meals that are burnt or underprepared. People boast about their spouses and children, but we never read about ill behavior or arguments. Amazing photos are posted and everyone is so happy, all of the time. There is nothing wrong with sharing such things. Herein lies the potential problem, we only post our best selves on Facebook. Facebook is not real. Do you really want others to have this perfect image of who you are? Part of real fellowship involves sharing with others and trusting others about the real messes that we experience and sometimes cause. Is it possible that sometimes we live in the reality of our unreal social networking lives?
Facebook asks the question, “what’s on your mind?” And many of us respond with complaints about everything under the sun, except for ourselves. We never complain about our own behavior. I have never written or read a post like this, “I just finished arguing with my wife, she is in one room and I am in another. Please pray for me, I feel like a failure as a husband.” Or, “I just raised my voice at my children and feel like a failure as a parent, please pray for me and my children, for grace, as we try to recover from my sin.” Or, ” I had a bad day at work today and I feel like a failure because I had a rotten attitude and mistreated everyone I spoke to.” Or, “I am thinking about how sorry I am because I was so rude today and used an excessive amount of corrupt communication, please pray for me.” Or, “pray for me, I haven’t read my Bible in weeks. Or, “I have not prayed in weeks.” Or, “please pray for me right now, I am really struggling with lust.” But I have read about bad things. For example, people ask for prayer when there is a tragedy, when a vehicle breaks down, a loved one is rushed to the hospital, and most recently a tragic flood. But no one ever writes about, and asks for intercession because of personal sin (personal bad). Is this a problem?
Here’s my point, can our unreal lives translate into our real world, in our real relationships? Are we transparent with others? I cannot tell you how many times that I have been transparent with other men, yet most don’t reciprocate. Do we invest more time in our Facebook world, bantering with strangers, people whom we don’t really know, liking posts and photos of people whom we may never see again, in this lifetime? Do we invest as much time in the relationships of those people whom we see everyday (every hour in the daylight hours), like our family, friends, church, and co-workers? Do we provoke each other to love and good works? Do we exhort each other and confess our faults to another? Are we esteeming others better than ourselves, practicing lowliness of mind? Or do we get together and complain about the government, others, and the behavior of others. Meanwhile hiding our own faults and sin, because we could not possibly live in a world where people can see and know our many failures. Unless, it is possible, that we are blind to our own failures.