Connecting in 2010

The Christian faith strikes me as being a highly relational expression of life, and the Bible certainly seems to support that.  Take the “one anothers” for example – love one another, be of the same mind toward one another, admonish one another, serve one another, bear one another’s burdens, be kind to one another, forbear with one another, comfort one another, confess your faults one to another … the list gets impressively lengthy. It’s pretty hard to fulfill these mutual responsibilities at a “digital distance.”

I fear that those who are part of the digital generation, to their own detriment, are ever so gradually losing that face-to-face contact that is so vital to developing and maintaining significant and enriching relationships.  In a recent article in Christianity Today magazine, mention was made of the rising suicide rate among young Japanese who, because they are investing preposterous amounts of time using technology, have found themselves isolated from people.  “They have lost elements of what it is to be human,” the article states.

I experience some of this tension with my own adult children.  Two of the three no longer have phones in their homes anymore.  And two out of the three rarely answer their cell phones, leaving their dear old Dad scratching his head at how to get in touch with them.  Their new, preferred mode of communication is through quick e-mails or text messaging, which I find hardly satisfying.  I hunger to hear their voices and to pick up on the textures of their emotions and be able to ask questions and have them fill in the blanks of the otherwise sketchy information I would have about what’s going on in their own lives or the lives of my grandchildren.

I know it’s ironic that I would make such observations while using this particular technology.  But as I have grown older, I have gained greater appreciation for the value and treasure of relationships.  Human touch, human voice, human presence, human laughter, human tears, human prayers, and human affirmations can never be replaced by a micro-chip inside whatever the latest gadget may be.  People can download my sermons or watch our services online, and I’m grateful that they can.  But call me “old school” – I’d still rather sit down with you over an iced tea and really connect.  I wonder how Jesus would have discipled the twelve if His earthly ministry had commenced in 2010!

by Bob Page, Senior Pastor