Thursday, January 7, 2021

31-Day Phone Challenge - Day 7


If I asked you why you are using social media, you’ll probably say it is to connect with family and friends. That is a valid reason. I love the ease in communication with friends around the globe.

But we can be connected to hundreds of people on social media and still be lonely. Connection online doesn’t always result in community.

Gary Miller in Surviving the Tech Tsunami writes, “Just as our hunger for physical nourishment can be falsely satisfied, so can our relational appetite. That normal need for relationship begins to gnaw deep inside, and out comes our electronic device . . . We are falsely satisfying our inner need for healthy dialogue and relationship with virtual interaction—relational candy. Keeping up with friends online can create a false sense of intimacy and temporarily quench that inner desire for face-to-face interaction.”

God gave us a desire to belong, and He designed the Church to fill that need. But today many of us are using social media as a substitute for the local Church and real relationships in the Body of Christ.

For hundreds of years, human interaction consisted of the people that lived within walking distance—the neighbor you could talk to over the backyard fence or meet when walking to the village well.

Today I can find my “community” anywhere in the world. I can seek out those with the same hobbies, interests, beliefs, and dreams. If I have a passion of knitting scarves with llama motifs, I can probably find a community of llama-motif-scarf knitters. There are communities for special-needs children, scrapbookers, runners, and every other conceivable category.

This can be a blessing. I love the support networks of the online community, especially for believers who don’t live near a local church. But in seeking out those who are like me, I can lose the interaction with those who are different than me, maybe those of a different age or with different interests.

I can talk for hours with a sourdough-baking, book-loving, gardening, homeschool mom. But I learn a lot from my single nurse friend who has been battling Covid in a nursing home. Or the elderly, or urban-dwellers, or adoptive moms—those with life experiences that I’ve never had.

If I only surround myself with those who think and act just like me, I could get a warped view of the Body of Christ. And this problem is magnified online, where categories and interests easily separate us. I might not even realize that there are vast numbers of people with very different views because I’ve chosen my own bubble.

From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16 NIV

We need each other. The Body of Christ is incomplete without each of us working together. That fact should make us rejoice in the diversity and variety of women in our local church.

Today’s Challenge: Set a goal to have a real conversation (not texting) with a friend today (or this week.) Set a date and time to meet for coffee or Facetime or simply talk on the phone. And maybe even call or meet with someone outside your normal circle of friends, someone older or younger, someone with different interests and goals, who can broaden your view of the Body of Christ.

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