By: Pastor Rob Helton
I like Facebook. It is a window into my past. It keeps me connected to old friends, new friends and friends I don’t even know. It educates and entertains. It has lots of funny video clips. (Did you see the one with the guy dancing to Uptown Funk on the tread mill?) I really like Facebook. That’s why I had to give it up… sort of.
I mean, I haven’t really, totally stopped getting on Facebook (this article will be posted to the church’s Facebook page), but I’ve been forced to rethink my unconditional commitment to it. It’s not that Satan used Facebook to invade my body (I don’t think). But I found myself somewhat unsatisfied after spending an extended period on it. It’s hard to explain.
My gut feelings were confirmed while sitting on the porch swing. My wife, Cindy, and I decided to take advantage of a relatively cool evening. We went out on our back porch, sat down on the porch swing and talked. A novel idea! We talked about nothing in particular for no particular reason. We just talked and swung in the porch swing. (Right now I have the overwhelming urge to write a couple verses of Swingin, the country classic by John Anderson, but I’ll resist.)
The point I’m trying to make is this. When we were done talking about nothing in particular for no particular reason, I felt full and good. When I realize that I’ve given up thirty or forty-five minutes of my life on Facebook, I don’t feel full and good. Sometimes I feel a little bit empty. Sometimes I feel a little bit cheated.
I think there might be something deeply spiritual going on here. The scriptures teach that human beings are sacred creatures. We are created in God’s image, what theologians refer to as the imago dei (the image of God). For that reason, something happens when one human being actually spends time with another with another human being. I don’t think it can be duplicated on social media platforms. It can happen when two people sit together in a porch swing or even in a church pew. It’s sacred. It’s a God thing.
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying we should all quit Facebook (although most young people have already moved on to Twitter and Instagram), I’m just saying that maybe the next time you have a choice between an hour sitting in a porch swing talking to a real person (or a good dog), or an hour on Facebook looking at videos posted by people you don’t even know, you may want to give the porch swing a try.