Thursday, February 5, 2009

Carl Trueman on "Virtual Friendships," Blogging, etc.

A very brief excerpt: "...while they may be a phenomena, I am not sure that the success of things like Facebook, texting etc. is entirely to be welcomed. True, there are advantages: for example, families and friends living at a distance can exchange photos and news with ease; but a touch of skepticism about these wonderful new webservices is perhaps overdue."

Read his entire essay.

HT: Justin Taylor

1 comment:

arc said...

Trueman certainly makes several pertinent observations concerning the cultural phenomenon of blogging, etc. And, individually, we each (as bloggers and/or commenters) must answer the accusation that we "are human amoebas, subsisting in a bizarre non-world which involves no risk to (our)selves, no giving of (our)selves to others, no true vulnerability, no commitment, no self-sacrifice, no real meaning or value."

However, Trueman summarizes the real crux of our Christian lives, on-line or off-. "However she does it, the church should show this generation of text and web addicts where real friendship and community lie, not with some bunch of self-created avatars on Facebook but with the person next to them in the pew on Sunday, with the person next door, with the person they can see, hear, touch and, of course, to whom they can talk, and who is created not in webworld but by the mighty Creator." So, how does the Church create an environment where it's safe to risk, safe to be vulnerable, safe to be known?

Or, is Trueman making much ado about nothing? Is the Church already creating this community for the majority of attenders?

Larry Crabb states, "Most people go through their entire life never speaking words to another human being that come out of what is deepest within them, and most people never hear words that reach all the way into that deep place we call the soul.

Behind bedroom doors and boardroom doors, in church staff meetings and small groups, on golf carts breezing along to the next tee box and on church leadership retreats convened to discuss vision and budgets and facility needs, in cars carrying excited kids to Disney World and in planes carrying Christian conference junkies to the next big event, it's all the same. We chat, argue, plan, gossip, pray, flatter, lie, maneuver, preach, and tell stories no one listens to about old friends who retired or divorced or got sick. We say, 'Wonderful to see you' to people we wish would go away; we discuss world problems, debate religious issues, despair over declining culture, debunk diet fads, divulge confidences that draw us artificially closer to our confidants, and distract ourselves with details about Tiger Woods's latest heroics on the golf course or Kevin Costner's latest box office flop. In therapists' offices or pastors' studies, sometimes on back decks while steaks sizzle on the grill, we quietly reveal sexual struggles, emotional struggles, job struggles, spiritual struggles, money struggles. And the same thing happens all the time.

We almost never speak words that are formed in the center of our soul and pour out from our very being with power and a sense of life. And we almost never hear words that stir life within us, that pour hope in to those empty spaces deep inside filled only with fear and fury and frustration" ("SoulTalk: The Language God Longs for Us to Speak," 2003, pp. 13, 14).

A Robin Jones Gunn character comments, "People who share aloha are those who draw close to another. They come close enough to trust another with the essence of who they are, close enough to breathe in your face. . .With aloha, you can trust your spirit or breath to another" ("Sisterchicks do the Hula!", 2003, pp. 190, 191).

Exactly who can we trust with the essence of who we are? Is another's spirit safe in our hands? Can their fears, doubts, and frustrations be acknowledged without questioning their faith in God? Can we admit the desert seasons within our lives without fearing another's flippant evaluation that we must be harboring some secret sin? Who will show us the true nature of God's love? Who will love us for who we can become in Christ and nurture us on that journey? Are we known by our love?