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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Facebook, Future, Forget about it

Perhaps you have seen this symbol  which is really a logo? But don't you think it almost stands for all social media these days? I mean, whether you use Instagram, Foursquare, or even MySpace, isn't Facebook the one that says it all? We may not like its control over our social media lives, but there it is...we deal.

I was not an early adopter of Facebook, and I am not an early adopter of social media in general. I have never sent a Tweet in my life. Heck, I still barely use text messaging. But even though I am not of the "social media" generation, I am glad for it. People that I might not remember all of a sudden pop up with a reminder that they are still here, and although we haven't talked in decades their lives still go on...and I can hear snippets or see snapshots of it...amazing.

Social media has completely disabused me of the idea of "privacy." In general, social media destroys everything John Locke built his world upon, which for you and me in the USA means we don't have much of a "private" life anymore. We may think we do, but NSA pretty much proves those thoughts misguided. I now assume everything I do is possibly being watched and recorded by someone somewhere. Certainly this is the case in my public speaking, preaching, and writing. But also, just wandering around my house or my garden, I don't worry if people are watching me.

Basically, social media forces me to live the life I want to live all the time. If I don't want someone to see me this way, I don't act that way...anywhere, anytime. I mean, I guess my great hope is that Facebook and social media will eventually eliminate hypocrisy. Think about it. If you can no longer say one thing in public and do another in private (because technology has erased the public/private separation), hypocrisy becomes harder to pull off.

For example, you can't be a Christian preacher who preaches against homosexuality all the while when you are having sex with your own gender, and not have people know. You have to somehow reconcile your preaching and your sexual activity to the world because you cannot hide the hypocrisy anymore. Imagine a future with hypocrites?

Now, some may argue, and they may be right, that a society needs hypocrisy in order not to implode. That is, for example, we need rich people to care FOR poor people even if they don't really care for people who are poor. That kind of hypocrisy is necessary for a society to exist without revolution. Maybe even social media itself contributes to this? Just today, I read that a school district in Omaha is going to give all students a computer--even kindergartners. I remember when parents use to worry about giving kids cell phones. Imagine what a 1st grader could do with an Ipad? But what about the school districts where kids don't get computers? (I mean, let's face reality: if you don't have a computer, your chances of reading "Thoughts from the Prairie Table" are pretty much zero. If you want to haverich and poor to get together, you have to treat internet access like air and water, not like a gym membership. Everyone should have free access to the internet.)

Jesus of Nazareth didn't have social media, but he did have an interesting piece of advice on how to behave. He said, "let you yes be yes and your no be no." That seems like good advice as we move into the future with social media in tow...or following How is your yes a yes, or your no a no these days?

May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.

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