Jesus WeptAs 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.


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5 responses to “The-No-Longer-Interested-Spouse-of-Christ”

  1. Maybe you’re being influenced by an animal spirit?

    I like this post, and totally agree with the sentiments. A couple of issues of spelling turned into stumbling blocks for me. If you had written “Simian” instead of “simian” I wouldn’t have wondered how you were corresponding electronically with an ape.
    I’m also guessing your friends are stripping their digital lives “bare” rather than “bear”. But maybe they’re just trying to be more ursine to balance their simian influences?
    This sounds really petty, but I don’t mean it that way, and I hope you don’t take it in that spirit. I really did think you were emailing a chimp or something! Ideally I’d have just emailed it to you, but found this more convenient than looking up your email address. Feel free to delete the comment!

  2. You read well, Maybe. Nothing is by chance here.
    And I don’t delete.

  3. Kester, I’, in an unusaul position. I work as a clinical chemistry technologist in a hospital laboratory, plus I’m involved in leadership is a local church…but I work permanent night shifts ( 11:30pm til 7:30 am ). So in my situation the digital world is a pretty valuable tool for me. My friends, would soon likely not be my friends if I was to call them when I’m wide awake at 2,2,4 in the morning. I till try and have face to face meetings…but in my situation face book has become a great tool foe helping organize and communicate.
    The quote, is extremely powerful, and should wke us up. It’s sad for me to say this, but, I’m at my wits end, fed up with the status quo. It’s seems it’s nothing more than business as usual, try preserve and maintain a sinking ship putting plugs here and there to stop further leaking.I love Jesus, but his bride had better clean up her act if she ever hopes to make to the wedding feast.

  4. first off, why is this not posted on conch ? why no YouTube video ?
    with that lame attempt at humor out of my system, here goes
    my experience with the US church is one that mirrors these comments
    I fell madly in love as a teenager
    dated as an early adult
    longer to give myself over after a conversion-like experience 7 years ago
    almost immediately, our passion was tamed
    i moved to once a week session
    ocassionally, we’d spice things up with new positions or even visitors
    my friends advised me to stick with it, to stay for the kids or the pension
    in the end, here’s the deal I was faced with
    stay married, but look for a mistress who ignited my imagination (or even just admitted its existence)
    break up & negotiate visitation rites
    instead, I broke up
    it still haunts me, still pushes me
    i am very buttoned up when I encounter folks in the main of the pension-bearing, member-managing portion of the church
    even with the “free love” that fresh expressions & emergent offer, I am wary
    I feel like my money & my privledge are welcome
    but my body & my passion are not

  5. This conversation seems to have a finger on a pulse, strong enough that the Onion did a satire piece this week called “I’m In An Open Relationship With The Lord”
    And, Kester, I really enjoyed signs of Emergence. Have already given copies of it to two friends. Blessings and thanks!