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Recommend Reading: Will You Be My Facebook Friend? by Tim Chester

19 Mar

I just read Chester’s booklet today, Will You be My FaceBook Friend?

I highly recommend it for anyone who uses social media (if your reading this blog, that’s you!).

Here are a couple of helpful quotes:

People can ‘Like’ something you have written. But there is no option to ‘Dislike’. So to get a response you have to phrase things in positive terms. No one is going to click ‘Like’ to ‘Had a miserable day at work’. So instead you put, ‘Looking forward to watching a movie with a tub of ice cream.’ ‘Like’! No one is going to click ‘Like’ to ‘My rabbit died yesterday.’ So instead you put, ‘Fluffy was a brave little bunny until the very end.’ ‘Like’! So everyone’s Facebook face wears a smile – whatever the reality behind the mask. We are all spin doctors, presenting upbeat propaganda versions of our lives.

Men, for example, should be taking responsibility in their homes, workplaces, churches or neighbourhoods. But many young men today are spending hours on their Xbox and never really growing up. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with computer games. But many of us are playing with toys when we could be taking risks for Christ’s kingdom or leading the way in new gospel initiatives. Our culture encourages men not to grow up.

Remember the medium is the message, and Facebook was designed by a teenage nerd. It reduces your life to the preoccupations of a student nerd. You are encouraged to fill in your relationship status because students define themselves by their ‘availability’. The medium encourages you to express your personality through lists of books, movies, TV programmes. This is what nerdy students do. You are encouraged to poke people – poking is what teenage boys do who do not know how to talk to girls. The medium is the message. Your life is being squeezed down into these select, nerdy categories. You can give your time to this – or to being transformed into Christ’s likeness with ever-increasing glory.

God has chosen the people in your church so they can help you come to maturity and so you can help them come to maturity. But social media allows us to play God and create our own chosen people. And we are at the centre of this chosen circle.

God has placed you together with the people in your congregation. You did not choose them; God chose them. And that diversity of personalities, backgrounds, social class and ethnicities is used by God to make you grow in Christ and to display the unifying power of the cross.

On a similar note, I also recommend Jeremy Walker’s series on Reformation 21, “A Web of Wisdom.

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