Is the modern Facebook really all that much different from the Christmas Cards my parents and Grandparents once mailed each year?
It seems to me we collect all these people across our lives and we want to stay in touch, but we really don't have the time to put it all into each relationship. But, we are made for relationship with one another, according to God's purposes.
So, I find that ingrained in most of us is that twinge of intrigue, or sometimes guilt, about relationships we have in our lives, past and current. We want to try and fill that void with some kind of update about that person.
So I recall at least 2 ways this happens: direct contact, mediated contact. Direct contact is the most obvious of running into the person on the street. Mediated contact takes several forms: phone, letter, email, Facebook/MySpace/LinkedIn or gossip, in what I perceive to be descending order of personal investment required.
My parents and especially my grandparents kept long lists of family and friends that they had made meaningful relationships at one point in their lives, but rarely if ever did anything with during the time that I watched those relationships. And yet, they would send and receive Christmas cards, replete with pictures, family updates and current contact information, from many of those people.
These days, I don't have such an extravangant mailing list (though I will cop to having the leftover vesitges of one that I remade for my wedding). But, I do have a great array of friends, and at almost no cost to me, I am able to keep up with them, begin to see pictures, and updates. I get a chance to make real-time changes to my own contact information, and feel more a part of their lives, and allow them to do the same with me, than the Christmas cards ever did.
But, the truth is, they serve the same purpose for each generation. The biggest change is that like everything else, we want to have information more quickly, and so we twitter, and post, and blog and have the opportunity to get the word out about what is going on with us, to the people we want to keep in the know, just at the speed of electronics.
I get an added bonus to my "Christmas Cards", with Facebook, I have a chance to expand that Christmas Card list, kinda like I do with a church newsletter, by connecting with marginal friends, and people who are "business aquaintances". In this way, it is a Rolodex, and Christmas card lust all rolled into one.
Labels: Emerging Church