In a new book, “How Facebook Killed the Church“, author Richard Beck argues that our new connectivity online is not necessarily a good thing for organized religion. This past week many Pastors met to discuss this very question and book. The domination of facebook in everyone’s world. We all have facebook accounts. Often the first thing we ask someone now when we meet them in the street is in reference to the existence of their facebook account. Mr. Beck asks very engaging questions in his new book. He says it offers a replacement for the important social function that houses of worship have long provided. One reason that “millennials” are leaving, he says, is because the digital world is providing a sense of community that has been an aspect of churches and other communities of faith. Yes, that sounds really really simple. I am sure that there is an ounce of truth in there.
Obviously, religion provides something more important than a sense of community. But isn’t social affiliation a part of it? Isn’t a sense of community part of the institutional strength of our places of faith? The real question is the broader digital world providing something our places of faith once did – a center of social networking? Is that a problem? And if so, what do we do about it? How do we reach the disconnected.
There have been many issues discussed about the life of the church. We wrote a story not long ago here: Black Churches Unite To Become More Relevant In Their Communities
In the beginning of history religion had the monopoly in offering a sense of community, where people gathered to hear stories of the prophets and God, of evil and good as that was an affordable communal entertainment in those days.
Fast forward to 21st century; Religion gets relegated to the weekend activity and as Richard Beck argues in “How Facebook Killed the Church,” religion further loses its traditional share in capturing the congregants to an alternate source of satisfaction; the facebook. There is an element in all of us that seeks freedom through alternatives. Questions about Religion that people were afraid to ask, and expression of dissension cannot be easier than at facebook, indeed no one will be called on the carpet. It is also increasing one’s ability to interact with each other and a new language of refinement is emerging and new communities are forming based on shared interests.
The truth of the fact is that Facebook allows for real evangelization that we as faith believers often negelct or forget about. I think that is the real hot topic of 2011. How do we use this tool that has swept the nation and redefined our borders, physically and spiritually. W hat do you think?
Where do you stand on this issue?