We live in an instant high-tech age where ways of communicating and relating change rapidly and drastically. There are some interesting trends which have developed:
Just 15 years ago, I got e-mail. Do you remember those screeching sounds! Eeeeek Ahhhhk EEEEExxxx! From Cambodia it would cost about $0.30 per message to send. I remember when a friend of mine got an e-mail with a picture attached and she got a download bill for $140! Now I can upload a picture of a river crossing in the middle of the jungle instantaneously, from my cell phone to my facebook site for hundreds of people to see in real-time. And now it only costs about $1.00 per month!
A corresponding trend which has happened though is that some people only interact through a virtual world. Some have even become virtual Christians. There are of course benefits to the ease of communication and inter-connectiveness, but often there is a great disconnect between a virtual perspective and actual people.
- Some people become self-made “experts” on any range of subject, person, idea, or even country yet have never actually experienced it in the real world.
- Others have become “experts” on societal needs or politics, but are never engaged in their community nor ever voted or fought for an issue in public.
- How many millions of people do you know who have clicked on a facebook fan page on “against abortion”, yet have never done one tangible thing to try and stop abortion or help young pregnant girls in need. How many multiple millions have clicked on fan pages that they “love Jesus”, yet is has been proven year after year that 95% of believers never share their faith with anyone. Hey, clicking “confirm” is not evangelism!
- We see so many blog sites dedicated to doctrinal perspectives, church polity, yet many of these same bloggers have no real tangible “fruit” in their own lives and ministry. They just debate strange sounding idea with other virtual hermits from the safety of ambiguity.
- Even on my blog site, or through e-mail, I periodically come across these virtual “experts” in missions who criticize international ministries, or even my work in Cambodia, and speak with such virtual authority, yet do not even have a passport, nor ever studied a foreign language!
My conclusion is that obviously the ease of communication is good. I am a recent blogger who started my blog to try and inspire other people to do more for God, so obviously I see the value in it. We must always remember and even force ourselves to be physically, personally and intimately engage people in a real world. We are called to be agents of change, but transformational change, in the real world. That takes talking to people personally, helping people with your own two hands, giving of yourself for others, and honestly engage others for their benefit, not yours. Virtual Christians have little value in the Kingdom of God, get out and help someone, in the real world, today and make a difference.