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Church is a personal and spiritual connection with others in faith that cannot be established by typing some characters into a smart phone

Facebook the ‘new church?’ Social media can never replace true community


By —— Bio and Archives--July 6, 2017

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We have a real problem when a virtual social order imagines itself to be able to take the place of human contact. The embodiment of living in a fantasy world, social media promotes existence on a level of reality that is fanciful.

Modern culture has come to a crisis stage where individuals are taught that it is enough to reach out via the internet or text to establish personal contact with another person. It isn’t. And Mark Zuckerberg’s assertion that social media is the “new church” brings home just how dysfunctional is the concept: “If we can do this, it will not only turn around the whole decline in community membership we’ve seen for decades, it will start to strengthen our social fabric and bring the world closer together…”

The farther a person is distanced from God, the more he feels compelled to be self-reliant. Social media exploits this misconception, that it empowers independence. Not only is that wrong, but it encourages isolation and, conversely, addictive dependence.

Community is based on personal interaction not remote intellectual exchanges. Church is community, a coming together in faith to worship God. There are organizations of folks who substitute other idols for God – in this case, technology – but it can never create a community of faith and worship. The reason is that technology is itself created and not the Creator. There is the possibility that Zuckerberg likens himself to a creator entity as the developer of Facebook, which is insinuated to be an avenue of worship.

Too much is missed by attempting to live one’s life by keystrokes or text messages. A typed message is devoid of inflection. Handwritten lettering is practically antiquated, however, script is capable of conveying emotion. And a signature reveals so much about the individual, yet now even that is absent from a typed message that appears on a screen. How many times has someone sent a note via e-mail, text or other social media format and the meaning was misunderstood despite the liberal application of silly emojis? It happens so often that friendships are destroyed before they’re established. Snail mail letters crafted with a pen is an improvement over typed memos, but the voice conveys empathy, passion or hurt and nothing can replace a face-to-face conversation.

So how is it someone who has made a vast fortune encouraging aloof communication using lackluster fonts, truncated language and even illiteracy believes that from this emerges a church? Only a person who has little to no experience with faith or a congregation of believers could possibly confuse a computer-generated conversation with coming together in a physical community of like-minded individuals.

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”—Matthew 18:20

Does Zuckerberg assume that two or three gathered in a chat room or bantering on Facebook constitutes a church since he designed the medium that brings them together? Nowhere can the virtual contact of a cyber association supplant the spiritual relationship of Christ that binds individuals.

The Apostle Paul speaks of how members of a church are much like members of a physical body, in that they each have special gifts that, when they come together, creates a spiritual body united in faith.

 

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1 Corinthians 12:11-13 “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (KJV)

Although people using social media to communicate may express similar intellectual concepts, what’s lacking is the capacity to share on the deep level that occurs in the physical presence of another individual or group of individuals. A phone, Skype or Facetime conversation is better than nothing, but a voiceless, faceless online chat can never take the place of gathering together in faith to worship, study and pray.

Church is a personal and spiritual connection with others in faith that cannot be established by typing some characters into a smart phone.


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A. Dru Kristenev -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Former newspaper publisher, A. Dru Kristenev,  grew up in the publishing industry working every angle of a paper, from ad composition and sales, to personnel management, copy writing, and overseeing all editorial content. During her tenure as a news professional, Kristenev traveled internationally as both a representative of the paper and non-profit organizations.

Since 2007, Kristenev has authored four fact-filled political suspense novels, the Baron Series, and two non-fiction books, all available on Amazon.

ChangingWind (changingwind.org) is a solutions-centered Christian ministry.

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