Email, Facebook, church website, social media and anti-social media...in an age of connection when we are increasingly disconnected.
Living Springs is a little church on the edge of the Adirondacks that in a way is living out the direction of Johnny Wesley for our own day. The World is my Parish, so said Johnny. I can’t say that I have called on everyone who is on my friend list lately. But I can say that I have prayed with many of them and for many of them in all of the above mentioned genres. We are across the street from a Navy base. Service men and families that are my friends are many places that I still have contact with years after they have moved on to another base, another church another set of friends.
Living Springs Community Church is a church of a Sunday morning attendance of around 40, but we have more than our share of techie types among us. About 4 years ago we put together our first website. Three years ago we started a pastor’s blog. All in an effort to connect. During most of this time we have encouraged people to engage in social media, many of our people are using Facebook. In short, much of my life is on line either in a podcast of the sermon, or on the blog on the website or on Facebook, for better or worse.
Does that create interesting interactions? Absolutely. This is most clearly the case with a good friend of a more liberal outlook on the gospel. Is his positions on many of the hot-button issues of our day different than mine? Absolutely. Do I correct him? Or argue with him? Never. There is no need for arguments. Logic will not change his mind. I try to show grace, love and acceptance when it is appropriate. I affirm what I can affirm and keep my keyboard quiet when I have nothing positive and engaging to say. I will trust the Holy Spirit to do His work as He sees fit in my good friend’s life.
It is not my place to judge him or to correct his view of scripture, marriage or sexual orientation. I am not his judge, I am his friend. A friend who has watched his courage in the face of loss and personal suffering. Facebook has given me a place to connect with this friend of years past and to be a part of his life.
I think of the ”Arab Spring” and the role of social media to confront the oppression of wicked power hungry men. I wonder if there is a way that I can use this tool to see a “Jesus Spring” in the Adirondacks and beyond.
Jesus--Work in all the ways that I, frankly, may never know about, as I seek to connect in this age of disconnection and dislocation.