It happened the day my mother “friended” me on Facebook. That’s when I knew the world had changed.
Up to that point, Facebook had been simply yet another social media site I visited, a place to reconnect with long-lost college roommates, take ridiculously time-consuming quizzes to discover my hidden self (for what it’s worth, I’m a perceiving extrovert who enjoys reading and long walks on the beach), and check in on my high school classmates without actually having to attend the reunion. It was all very much a virtual party, complete with virtual cake, virtual drinks, virtual decorations, and virtual gifts.
That is, until my mother showed up.
Suddenly the event was no longer a select meet-and-greet, a party by invitation only. No, somehow, the gathering had grown, moved outdoors, and was happening in the streets. It was a community block party and everyone was invited. Including my mother.
That’s when I realized that my virtual world and my real world had collided. More to the point, that was the moment that I realized that the virtual world, that Facebook, was the real world. And that what I had been using as a form of escapism was simply another level of interaction with very real coworkers, friends, neighbors, and in this case, relatives. In a word, Facebook was community.
As such, it was going to get pretty messy.
“You can’t get wisdom from a screen!” My Greek professor made this adamant assertion to a class of young preacher boys in January 1992. He was responding to a question regarding the new Bible study software named Logos. Version 1.0, a forward thinking shareware product designed by two Microsoft employees, had been released in December 1991. Little did my professor know the technological tsunami that would soon pound the cultural landscape in the form of the World Wide Web and its home, the Internet. As with all big waves, some watch, some run, and some grab 12 foot boards and head into the surf.
You might be wondering why I would discuss the Internet and New Communication Technologies (INCT). Isn’t this the 21st century? Isn’t this a tired subject? Am I just transitioning from cassettes to CD’s? There are a few reasons why I think this topic is pertinent. For one, conservative Christians are generally the last adopters of technology because of the fear of the unknown, or a general lack of understanding. Why fix it if ain’t broke? How do I get on The Twitter?
Beyond that, Paul advised that in everything we do, we should have a kingdom purpose in mind, and glorify our great God. I believe this applies to our engagement with INCT. We should have a philosophy and integration of INCT into our worldview.