Many people struggle to do everything you want to do. But I can give an extra hour a day. I have the secret. Thank what you could with an extra hour: time with the children, doing mission, reading your Bible, learning a new skill. What is the answer? Stop using Facebook. On average Facebook users spend 20 hours a month on Facebook. That is the average which means getting on for 250 million people are spending an hour a day on Facebook. You could stop. Some people do not have a Facebook page and somehow life goes on. And you get a whole hour each day.
Some of you have little time for community and missional life because you are spending too much time on Facebook or watching television or surfing blogs. You are opting for disembodied life over embodied life.
Now disembodied life is easier. But it is less fulfilling, less real and less satisfying.
Embodied life is harder. But it is more fulfilling, more real, more satisfying. It is more substantial – you can touch it, feel it, embrace it!
One study found that over half of young women spend more time talking to people online than face-to-face. Another study found that for every hour we spend on our computers, face-to-face interaction falls by thirty minutes. The more people engage online, the less able they are to engage offline. Real world communication feels more threatening, less natural, less normal.
I was talking to the wife of one of leaders in The Crowded House. She was describing how many people struggle to keep up with old friends. They are often off pulled away from church and mission to visit people elsewhere in the country. And Facebook perpetuates this. The result is stress and thin relationships. In contrast she talked about as a couple they recognised that God has placed them in their city, in a physical place with physical bodies with all the limitations that involves. So their focus is on the people in their Christian community and their neighbourhood. They do not give a lot of time to “keeping up” with past relationships. They focus on their present time and their present place. As a result they have relationships that are deep and significant.
Facebook encourages you to live elsewhere. The gospel encourages you to live life here and now.
- You can tend your Farmville farm or you can get an allotment.
- You can catch up with friends on Facebook or you can go out on a cold, dark night to see real friends.
- You can catch up with “Friends” by watching the latest episode on the television or you can serve your neighbours.
- You can build a new city on Sims or you can be the city of God set on a hill with your Christian community.
Here is the test: Am I using Facebook to enhance real world friendships or to replace them?
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includes Tim Chester’s books