As I have mentioned here before, I have recently written an article about Facebook (and other social networks) for Third Way. I sent a copy of it to a simian friend of mine based in the US – who I naturally keep up with mostly via the internet – and her response to a passage where I outline the danger of the Body of Christ ending up simply as ‘the buddy of Christ’ I found really engaging:
I think the Western Church has become something even worse than the “buddy of Christ” I think we’ve become the no-longer-interested-spouse of Christ. The partner who is so disengaged in the relationship that they are dissolved in apathy and not even interested in divorce but have resigned themselves to a love-less, passion-less living out the rest of their days. I don’t mean to be a doomsayer but I must say that is what strikes me when I interact with most people in normal American churches, not to mention the feeling that I get when I have to sit in a service.
I found this profoundly moving actually, and quite uncomfortable to read. Which usually means it needs reading and digesting slowly and thoughtfully.
There has been a lot of discussion – virtually around the web, and at almost every party/function/whatever I’ve been to in the last few weeks – about the digital tsunami that appears to be drowning people. Jonny is resisting Facebook (though in response I’ve set up a group to force him to give in) and I know other friends who are stripping their digital lives bear in an attempt to pull some kind of real life back. I think the next couple of years are going to be very interesting in this respect, and I think the whole nature of online relationships – and the connected quality of our real relationships hinted at in the quote above – are going to be tested vigorously.