Have we become so connected to technology we don’t know how to disconnect? It’s almost as though we don’t know how to have a simple enjoyable conversation or build real solid relationships with others unless it’s through social media. Walk into any Starbuck’s and it’s rare to see people just sipping coffee and having a conversation without their laptop, iPad or phone in their hand. We’ve turned the art of good conversation and building community with others into multitasking by conducting multiple conversations at one time.
We use the word connect, small groups, life groups and fellowships in churches today but yet all too often it seems we’re still not connecting with each other as God intends. I’m not saying all churches are like this, as I know of many churches who live out the biblical concept of relationships and church family. However, I have sat through church functions watching people staring, typing away and checking their phones every five minutes. And the thing is I used to be one of those types, as I shared in a earlier post.
There was a time I remember people saying to me; “I’ll give you a call.” Now I hear; “I’ll text you” or “I’ll Facebook you.” Just the other day after speaking to someone at church I said; “Thanks, I’ll give you a call.” I was surprised and felt some sort of comfort and a smile on my face when they said; “I look forward to your CALL.”
The early church in the Books of Acts understood what it meant to build relationships and community.
They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. – Acts 2:45-47
The sad thing is I’ve heard others, when having this conversation and referring to these verses say to me; “But that was a different time and culture.” For which I have come to reply with; “That’s an excuse and a poor unbiblical excuse.”
We are long over do from stepping away from conforming to our culture and being transformed through scripture. As believers we have become so adapted to our culture, people can’t tell us from everyone else.
As I shared in an earlier post; Being on the Trail is Where I Belong, I have always been into hiking, backpacking and the outdoors. However, over the past several years I fell into the trap of busyness and social media had become a bad habit. (By the way, social media has been proven to be addictive and can cause stress, anxiety and depression)
Over the last year God has been reshaping me and chiseling away the garbage that has been getting in between He and I. I have rediscovered my hiking roots and passion again to the point I get can’t enough. On my free time I prefer to be in the woods on a mountain, not in front of my laptop and social media is becoming I looking at less and using mostly to get my stories out to others in hopes they can benefit from what God is teaching me.
I’m not saying social media is wrong and we should cut it out completely, well maybe a few of you should, but what I’m saying is we need to limit it and spend more time in real life community.
For me, hiking and the outdoors has drawn me into a community of people with different backgrounds, cultures and family settings. We share a common bond, a love for the outdoors and hiking. We share stories of our experiences and how our trips even shape, change and mold of lives. We encourage each other to push on and keep going even when the trail and terrain are tough and our knees are sore and legs feeling weak. On the trail a hiker won’t hesitate to share something he/she has to a fellow hiker in need or simply out of the desire of their heart. We call this “trail magic.”
We’ll share the last little bit of floor space in a shelter so a weary hiker can get some sleep. We rely on guide books for the trails we’re hiking and our evenings are spent in conversation with each other while staring at a campfire, not our iPads. And we pass on what we learn along the way to others, especially newbies, as they move from novice hiker to experienced.
Hikers make up a community and develop relationships. And for many our experiences on a trail form bonds that can last a lifetime. As a church some of us can learn from this community, that for many of us has become family.
So put down the iPad, phone and TV remote. Get outside and meet people face to face. Whether it be on a trail, a mountain top or your next door neighbor. It’s time we get back to community and living life WITH people face to face (and Skype doesn’t count).
Remember, life is one long hiking trip. Hike it with the King!