After several years of resisting I have at last joined Facebook, the networking site. Invited to do so by Alison my wife, I suddenly find myself with 11 friends !!
Facebook has highlighted the whole concept of networking on the internet for me. As an old fuddy~duddy I find it confusing, and I think it looks really rather messy, but my daughter thinks its simple and clear. I want a conversation that’s more than just a snippet of information, but Becca thinks its a good, quick way of keeping in touch.
I have no doubt that this is a generational thing; nor do I have any doubt that I’ll get used to it and already I find myself checking in each day, so I’m not too worried and not do I feel ancient by it.
However it raises the question of culture. More and more of society relates through the internet, through sites such as Facebook, Bebo, Plaxo and others and see it as perfectly normal. This is a major challenge to Church, for as society becomes more internet dependent and therefore doesn’t see the need to always gatyher in one place, we must ask ourselves “what are we doing about it ?”
Increasingly the church needs to get hold of the concept that peoples networks will dictate who they spend time with; the gym, the internet, workplace, bowling club have all become the places where there are communities gathered. Does the church meet these communities or do we still rely on those living next to our buildings to `pop~in` ? Why should Joe Bloggs visit the Chapel next to him if his best mate from work worships at a Church 5 mile away ? He’ll go with his mate, understandably. I’m aware of a family in Derbyshire who commuted every Sunday to Yorkshire to attend Church because that was where there son was the Pastor. Their network was the son and his family.
I don’t know the answer to this but we perhaps we all need to stop and think about what networks we belong to and what it is that keeps us going to the same Church each week, or what it is that stops others from doing the same.
Meanwhile, I can be found whiling away the hours on facebook…………………………..