Online or In Person?

Going online is so convenient and safe.  I can find out anything I want and don’t have to interact with anyone.  I don’t have to commit to anything and be anonymous.  I can choose when to “blow my cover” and make myself known, but until then, I can be a lurker at events….from church services to seminars to just about any public event that is streamed.  How convenient. What a great technological advancement!  We are entering a new era of being in the “public”  and getting and consuming information.

While the convenience and the desire not to have to “go” somewhere to interact with people may sound attractive, does it really build a healthy community?  And wby would we even care?  Who cares how you consume information and experiences?

There is a passage in the Bible that has always struck me for focusing on a practice that was only possible before the age of personal computers and television.  It reads:

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25 NKJV)

As far as the Church assembly is concerned, one goes to a public assembly not only to hear what is said, but to participate in the community.  The passage goes on to encourage reaching out and “exhorting” or encouraging one another.  You come to worship, sing, pray, but also to lift one another up from a challenging week, to empathetically listen to someone’s troubles and trials.  To share your own.  You can’t do that online.  You can’t walk up to smile and tell someone behind your webcam, “so good to see you today!  How you’ve been?”

While there is a convenience to the online experience, does it really build strengthening bonds that human beings need.  We were made to be a social creature and going completely online takes away from that natural behavior.

Just something to think about.  Church is not only experiencing something…it is for contributing to.  The newest technology doesn’t always create the best outcomes.

Just some of my thoughts that came to mind today.

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