Facebook And Community | UMC YoungPeople
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February 2012

Facebook And Community

By: Alexis Williams

First, a confession…I am a Facebook junkie. I have always been the type to do a lot of work on my laptop, and Facebook is now a permanent tab in my Safari window. All the things people so willingly post to their social network fascinate me. Heck, the things I willingly share on my page fascinate me. Why do I want my 903 friends to know that my cat is taking a nap next to me while I type my sermon outline? Why do I think any of them will care? But some of my friends do, in fact, respond to my cat pictures. Or coffee pictures. Or random sign pictures. Just as I respond to their posts about their breakfast food. Or Words With Friends accomplishments. Or their political rants.

Why? Why is Facebook the vacuum of countless hours of life for so many people? Why do we open that crazy little page to feed the addiction we had no idea was a side effect of signing up? The answer is actually very simple; we were created to live in community. From the very beginning, God could see that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. One of the first things Cain does after being forced to wander, is to build a city. The Tower of Babel is built in the hope that the people won’t be scattered (ironic, yes?). The Israelites live in tribes and clans within the tribes. The emerging Christian church in Acts shares all things in common, eating together as often as they gather.

We now live in a world where we can communicate with hundreds of people, but usually through the medium of our favorite electronic toy. We can chat, e-mail, and text almost anyone we want, at any time. I know students that live in constant communication with their friends via their phones. And why? Because we feel this desperate need for community. But here is where the break down happens for me. These same people, who can talk to me about anything over text, who can spend hours in conversation via Facebook….these exact same people can barely get through a face to face conversation. These exact same people can’t stand to put their phones down long enough to focus through a 10 minute sermon, or a 30 minute discussion.

Somewhere along the line we lost the art of genuine community, in favor of its digital substitute. I don’t have a solution for this problem. Maybe some don’t think it’s a problem. What I do know is this, as much fun as Facebook is, someone liking my status doesn’t make the loneliness go away. As convenient as texting is, it is no substitute for the ministry of presence that another human can provide. Somehow, we have to reclaim this elusive concept of community, so that we can more fully embrace who we were created to be.

See more devotions from Alexis and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.