A Crazy, Connected World

I was sitting at my computer, making stupid jokes on people’s status updates when I realized that I have a web of interlocking relationships that baffle my mind.

FACT: I met our music director and his wife when they were in 11th grade at a Christian school and then reconnected with them twelve years later at a mutual friend’s wedding in Florida.

FACT: One of our bands is fronted by the husband of a woman who had me as her 8th grade homeroom teacher.

FACT: Our video/computer geek lived a couple towns over from my wife for most of his life, joined the church I used to work at right before I left and wound up with us years later through a relationship with someone else.

FACT: When we visited my dad’s church in Franklin, Massachusetts, we ran into someone that my friend Greg Jones (one of our elders) knew from years ago in Manchester.

FACT: A friend of Greg’s came to New Hampshire for a funeral and she turned out to be the cousin of another of my friends, Sean.

There’s more stuff like that, and it gets pretty intense. It is hard to think of any relationship that doesn’t somehow intertwine with another one.

Technology has intensified the relationships we experience. It used to be that you spent most of your time with a small groups of people (co-workers, family, etc.) and interacted with others only occasionally. Now, our entire lives are exposed and interwoven online. If you don’t post it; someone else will!

Social media makes the interconnection of relationships so much easier in our modern world. I remember once going to Boston with my friend Steve back in 2006 and having a conversation about the internet becoming a social hub. Who could have known the way this would have become a reality?

Thanks to Facebook, I can stay connected with people whose lives have intersected my own even if they are not nearby. There’s also no place to hide.

I’ve had to really consider the notion of offending people on Facebook. Something that I consider inoffensive or fun (like the time I posted a question about the most annoying worship song you’ve ever heard) can be offensive to people. There really is no place to hide, and there’s no way to bluff or present a false front of Christian perfection when everyone can see everything.

The demand for authentic faith has become almost overwhelming because I do not think the mechanics of Christianity in most communities can adapt to the constant exposure and pressure it creates.

Not only that, the constant connection illuminates our inconsistencies. You either embrace this new accountability and be willing to take criticism or you shut yourself off from everyone and live in your own private world where your opinion is king. (I’ll never forget the first time someone googled an illustration I used in a sermon and offered the correct information.)

We are more connected now, on a techno-relational level. This kind of community relationship within culture is exactly what church leaders have been trying to develop for years, and now that the tools exist for it, I think we need to embrace it. We need to celebrate it and become capable of communicating in this new media.

 

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