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When I open up my Facebook page, I immediately am asked to give a status update that reads… “What’s on your mind?” Now, depending on the day or the hour what has just happened in my life, that question is loaded. There is a lot on my mind most of the day and the temptation of sharing it on social media is a strong temptation. Whether it is a comment on the latest political upheaval, or a comment on Miley Cyrus and her lack of discretion, or the frustration I had earlier in the day, many of us want to share our thoughts. However, I wonder why? Do we really think people care what we think about politics, religion or Miley? Or is it something else?
I believe we all have a need. A need to be understood and have people “like” our status updates and really “like” us. We all want to fit in, we all want to be the most insightful person in the room and the funniest. We post thoughts, opinion and even recipes with a secret desire to see how many people will like or comment on our status. What gives?
I believe what we are all pining for by our Facebook updates, our tweets, and our Instagram photos is to belong. We want to belong and be accepted by people. We measure our value by how many friends we have on social media. Kind of sad isn’t it? In our quest to be a part of something, we have settled for acceptance online. The problem is not directly with social media. I value it a lot. The problem is our move away from meaningful relationships and conversations that build true friendship and community.
Now, this is a column about faith. So let me get to it. I believe that true community and belonging should and can happen in the context of the local church. The church is the place where we find meaningful relationships, do life together and work out our faith together. What if we worried more about our neighbor and fellow church member as much as we do about what our “friends” had for breakfast? Maybe better concerns are; who am I praying for? Who am I ministering to? Who do I need to invite to church?
Developing relationships takes energy and risks and intentionality. So when we get on Facebook and are tempted to share our great insights, may we also call someone and share with them how they are important. Maybe what is on our mind is not as important as what action we take? Maybe a better status update question is “How did you bless someone today?”
Take care and I hope you “like” my column!
(Darrell Morgan is the pastor of Williamstown Baptist Church. He can be reached at 859-824-4102.)