Monday, October 19, 2009
The Blogging Idol
I was a guest speaker at a church, waiting for my time to go up to the platform. That's when I saw something curious. The staff person responsible for coordinating the worship service was busy typing away on her laptop. Perhaps a last minute change to the PowerPoint, I thought. But as I walked behind her, I saw that she was consumed with typing a message on someone's Facebook wall. It felt out of place to me, given that she was the person responsible for leading God's people in worship but she seemed mentally someplace else.OK, that's old news. All of us have been here - sitting in church-school-meeting, wishing we were somewhere else, passing notes, whispering to the person in the next chair. Technology has just made it a bit easier to do, and depending on how slick you are, more or less obvious. But then there is this:
A few Sundays ago, I was heading home after preaching three times. I was tired and looking forward to opening my laptop and reading my favorite blogsÑparticularly ones focused on missional theology and leadership. Just then I received a text message from a friend. He was inviting me to a club to see a band with a number of non-Christians, including one I had been trying to build a relationship with.This is also old news, maybe in my day it was TV instead of the laptop and in my parents the radio, and grandparents the newspaper, but regardless there has always been something we might rather do than what God is pointing us towards. We call them idols because when we follow that rather urge we worship the urge more than the Lord.
I suddenly faced a decision. Do I go home and read blogs about being missional, or do I go to the club and actually be missional? It sounds like an easy decision, but it wasn't. In all honesty, part of me truly wanted to go to the comfort of home and just sit in front of my laptop.
Blogging not so much, but social networking is a tad more problematic because it seems like we are relating to people, and we are - to a point. But there is no experience like the experience of being with someone.
I love this analogy, tell me if it is flawed. If God could have saved the world through just words (like blogging or social networking) Christ would never have come. After all, the Old Covenant was all about words - written, codified, categorized, examined. But He needed a New Covenant of flesh and blood - life, death and most importantly resurrection.
We can never let our computers substitute for relationship. They are great aids thereto, but knowing someone by email does not a relationship make - just the start of one.