Perhaps it's because the local radio station I like to listen to is featuring music from 1986 this morning (I was in high school and had just learned to drive...it was a while ago.). Perhaps it's simply because life here in Chicagoland's north shore is life on a John Huges set. I cannot say, but I've had the Psychedelic Furs in my head all morning and the thug from The Breakfast Club in his flannel shirt repeating the words "demented and sad, but social" running amok in my brain all morning. It's been rather, well, odd.
This week Questor Pastor posted this entry as a follow-up to another entry at Experimental Theology about how Facebook and other social networking sites are killing the church. Simply, once people stop using physical institutions to provide for community and social connection, they all started to diminish. So, clubs, societies, and religious institutions are all on the wane. There are easier ways to make that first connection and thus to make new friends. He says:
The problem isn't that churches are social communities; the problem is when that's all they are. In the heyday of mainline churches, congregations could get away with being a religious Elks Club. But what happens when new communal spaces like Facebook come around? Well, people don't need to go to a church to meet other people when they can do that on Facebook or Twitter or someplace else.
Churches have to be places where we can connect with each other, but also remind us of the holy. They have to be places where we are formed into the likeness of Christ. Yes, they need to be places of social connection, but that can't be the main thing anymore. It never was supposed to be.
It's an interesting thread even if it is ubiquitous to online churchish conversations.
So, we go to Facebook and Twitter. We bring the institutions and the communities they represent to the web. That's really all we can do. We have to go to the virtual third places. The other thing we might think about, however, is how to enjoy it. So many of us are whining all the way to Twitter and back. We decry it's existence as the antithesis to community. To do so is a mistake. Instead, let's play along. Let's enjoy the technological horseplay. Let's experiment, make friends, take risks, invent a new way to communicate, simply be at the forefront of it all and not sit back and wonder where everyone went.
God is everywhere...even in the machine.