Communicating You (Part One)
October 6, 2009
The momentum of modern communication is undeniable. People long determined to abstain from progressive communication (cell phones, emails, and online communities), are joining the movement with bashful enthusiasm. The global culture of instant connection is growing, quickening, and evolving everyday. Where once telephone conferences revolutionized global entrepreneurship, now cyber video feeds have created a new standard by visually convening business leaders from all over the world. Emails and text messages enable both international and home businesses to exchange information at unprecedented speeds. This phenomenon has not remained in the business sector. The profound ingenuity of modern communication is much stronger and more alarming at a social level.
This height of connectivity shows no disparity between godless culture and God’s own people. If our growing connectivity actually disables true connection, should the church’s technological engagement be greatly divorced from that of the popular culture? No matter one’s initial impression, the reality is that communication is changing culture globally and ecclesiastically. This is most evident in present-day relationships.
Community and friendship in contemporary American culture have been redefined in cyber semantics. Mark Twain’s endearing characterization of friendship, in Huckleberry Finn and Thomas Sawyer, cannot contain today’s broader concept. The word friend has expanded to included far less personal connotations. The cost of friendship is no longer breath-taking, expectant, unquestionable adventure on the Mighty Mississippi; a simple internet note in such virtual communities as “myspace” will suffice. Myspace.com, a “place for friends” does not stand alone as the web’s solitary soul mate manufacturer (in fact it is now mocked as so 2000 and late). Flourishing sites like facebook, eHarmony, and Second Life, provide avenues on which life-long and would-be friends can meet and greet with greater ease than over-caffeinated Baptists at a potluck. At first glance it may seem like a harmless, even beneficial practice of “staying connected.” However subtle hazards lurk within the seemingly innocuous nature of these online fraternities.
The dangerous pattern of contemporary communication is not limited to surface level risks. To be sure the threat of Internet bullying, cyber predators, and identity theft are real and must be taken into account. However, it is not in these overt displays of evil that the Church is most in need of remedy, nor in the less potent vice of simple time wasting. Both teens and trendy adults spend protracted amounts of time online, engaging in these groups. Consequently through this numb investment in these high-tech forms of modern-day socializing, participates cooperate with an ongoing precipitating decay of anthropology, communication, and ultimately, Christian mission.