We are by far the most connected and social engaged generation in history. Social networking has allowed us to live open before others in ways unlike any other time in history. I dove into social networking headfirst, I have shared thoughts, pictures, quotes I have read and other trivial bits of information readily and steadily. In many ways this has been a good thing, but in many ways I have found that it has also become a bad thing. I have found that my sin, my idolatry, with wanting to always be “in the loop” or even wanting to see who liked this or that in which I posted has become idolatry and a serious distraction from my care for my soul, my family and my church. This has happened in a few ways that I think the Bible actually speaks out against:
“Look at me!!” “Look at my kids!!!”
3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:3–4 (ESV)
I wonder if a way we can see this today is “don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing because your left hand will tweet, Instagram, Facebook about it”. I know this is true for me. I have become so consumed at times with wanting to share something about my kids, my studying or my life in general. Not only share but because I am prideful and I want people to validate me through “likes” and retweets my emotions can be affected by the amount of “likes” and interaction I get with each post. I am always looking for something to share that I am in danger of not fully enjoying my kids or the sunset but thinking of what filter, how many #’s to attach or what funny status I will add to what is going on.
Jesus calls us to live a life on mission but that is also marked with time before God, where we share with Him more than we share with the world. I have seen the opposite in my life. Instead of meditating on God’s beauty in His creation and silently contemplating, I am quickly going to Instagram instead.
Face-to-Face Is Crucial to Community
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24–25 (ESV)
I am by nature more of an introvert. So the fact that I can interact with people without actually having to be physically with them is awesome. Awesome and seriously lacking in the real, in person interaction we actually need. God designed us to want community, to know and be known. This cannot truly happen online. In fact the danger is that I can present such a side of myself that is a far cry from reality that I’m not truly known. True community happens over a meal and a good conversation, not over a status or retweets. It happens over time as people watch my life and I watch others and as we speak into each other’s stories.
This is especially crucial with the well-being of my family. As I lead my family I must seek out the hearts of my wife and my kids, I simply cannot do that while updating a status or “liking” someone else’s status, picture, or tweet.
Not Sin But Not Best
23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 1 Corinthians 10:23 (ESV)
Social Networking is a distraction. It is a distraction from times of prayer, times of good conversation with my family, and talking to actual people. It is a distraction from reading for the growth of my soul and good of the church. It is a distraction from the important things in my life right now.
I am blessed to be pastor of a young church in Rio Rancho, and behind my walk with the Lord, leading my wife and kids, my priority and focus must be on the good of the church. I must devote more time to studying to preach, studying to guide as well as meeting and encouraging others through prayer and fellowship. I also must spend time on mission to see lives change and honestly lives don’t change by me sharing a picture of my lunch, but it happens through my full engagement with others offline.
I am going to take a break for the rest of May from regular engagement in social networks. I want to spend more time engaged with people in real life, engaged in God’s word and engaged in the building up of Redemption Church. After that I am not sure but know it will look different than it has.
I want to share less and live more, truly live for God’s glory and I know that means stepping away from Social Networks. I want to learn about people’s lives by actually talking and being with them not just through pics and small updates.
I hope to write more on this blog and on Redemption’s blog, I hope to provide the people of Redemption with more of my attention, and I hope to be the husband and dad that God has called me to be, regular Social Networking doesn’t fit into this.
I do not in any way, by sharing this, mean to tell others that they should share my convictions about how they do Social Networking, but rather I do hope it challenges you to look at your heart, look at your time online and pray for guidance in this.
For the rest of May the only updates you will see from me on Facebook or Twitter will be in regards to posts I write here or at redemptionchurch.cc, I will interact with comments made about these posts too.
To learn more about what is happening at Redemption Church you should also go like the Redemption Church Facebook page here.
I will not be checking my FB, twitter or Instagram, in fact I am deleting them from my phone.
Does this freak me out? Is it going to be hard? Yes, even typing this has been hard. I have a fear of missing out on something, or not being part of some interaction. It is because I feel so nervous and stressed about disengaging from social networks that I know it is needed.
If you do want to DM me on Twitter or send me a private message on Facebook I will respond, but for a quicker response you can reach me through email at carlos (at) redemptionchurch (dot) cc
Otherwise, see ya, hopefully in person, around!
One more thing, I hesitated to press publish on this post today, I saved it and then looked at Facebook, it was there I saw the video below. After watching it I decided, nerves and all, to hit publish.