I’ll be honest. I don’t struggle with watching TV. I almost never watch it; it holds no appeal for me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t waste time. Things like email, Facebook, and blogs capture my attention in such a way that, at times, it worries me. I can literally spend hours (usually not in one sitting—but minutes add up ) checking and answering emails, perusing updates, photos and videos on Facebook, and reading other blogs. I’m afraid to get a smart phone because I know I am weak and I fear I will be constantly distracted by the availability of these mediums.
When I allow myself too much computer time, I feel guilty—like I am being a bad steward of my time; “Tomorrow,” I say, “I will only spend 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening on these frivolous activities”, but then tomorrow comes, and I waste time again. What is it with me?
Why do these internet “connections” draw me in? Why do I gain satisfaction from these “virtual” conversations? You know why? Because I long for community. So do you. That is why these social medias are so appealing for many of us—especially those of us who work from home (and have no co-workers) or those stay-at-home moms who feel restricted by their lack of freedom. Things like Facebook create a sense of belonging and acceptance because communication and approval happen; “Oh! Somebody liked my status!” “Look how many people commented on my photos"!” We all need to be noticed. We all need an “atta-girl!” now and then. This kind of thing happens on Facebook. This kind of thing happens on blogs. But why aren’t we doing more connecting in real life?
Connecting in real life requires risk. Connecting in real life takes pre-planning and actual talking. Connecting in real life requires us to show up, put our real selves out there, and invest in others’ lives. It’s not always pretty, but it’s almost always rewarding. Connecting builds a strong communities, solid societies, and people bonded by common beliefs. When people connect in real life, they watch and learn how to raise their kids, how to love their husbands, how to make dinner, and how to be hospitable. You can’t truly experience these things through Facebook or blogging or surfing the web. And an emoticon ((hug)) isn’t nearly as satisfying as a real one. As our society becomes more and more connected to technology and disconnected to people, we lose the sense of “unity” that the “United” States once shared—think about the movies you have seen or books you have read about barn-raisings, 4th of July celebrations, small town festivals, even the well-know Thanksgiving story with the pilgrims and Indians. Now think about your own life; recall things you have done with a specific group—mission trips, vacations, building projects, even connections groups and Bible studies—we often bond with others during these times because of the experiences we have shared together.
We all want community. It’s how God intended His church to be—He even chose a community of people—the Israelites—to be His chosen ones. And who doesn’t long for the kind of fellowship the New Testament believers had in Acts 2:42-47 (see below). When we connect like these believers did, we show the world God’s love in 3D.
In the olden days, people created relationships by spending time together, sharing meals together, doing life together. Let’s stop being lazy and dependent on Facebook for our social fix, and let’s get out there, meet our neighbors and share life. We will all be the better for it.
Now get off the computer, make a plan, and do something to promote community in your family’s life this week!
Then keep doing it.
Leave a comment to let me know what you did!
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs and wonders were done by the apostles. All of the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to everyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.