"Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then, it will be a really good day." Louie Schwartzberg
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On Facebook and Community


posted by Susan Dominikovich on , ,

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Confession time:  I must admit a grievous error in judgement.  I have posted pictures of my children with their trophies on Facebook.  I have proclaimed their achievements on Facebook.  I have told the Facebook world how proud I am of them.  I have posted about some of the magic dates I have had with my husband.  I have posted links to my favourite Youtube music videos.  And I have posted on Facebook...wait for it...photos of the meals I was eating.  Yes, I have.  

But none of those things are my error in judgement.

My error in judgment is that for a short time I bowed to peer pressure.  Recently there has become a trend by a witty few on Facebook to publish little notices and billboards, rants and diatribes really, which attempt to put the rest of us in our place.  They have told us to stop skiting, to stop putting up boring dribble, to stop telling our Facebook friends what we ate for dinner.  They have used the words "Stop it!  Now!"  I found myself saying, "Oh my goodness, I have done that...shame on me.  What was I thinking putting up a pic of my food for goodness sake?"  

Why shame on me?  

Why do I do it in the first place?  Why does any of us "share" anything at all on Facebook?  Why has it become so important, so vital to so many people across the globe?  And why on earth this inherent need to put up pictures of our food?

The answer is simply community.  I realise it is a buzz-word at the moment.  But there is a reason for the buzz about community, and a reason why millions of people find Facebook to be their lifeline.  

My generation and those following it have inherited a legacy of independence and "me-ism" from our parents in the western world.  At the same time as women fought for equal pay and individuals fought for the rights of the worker, the world became a much smaller place.  Improvements in technology and transportation specifically meant that people moved and we experienced the phenomena of the urban drift.  But in their search for a better life, one which they had every right to find, isolationism was created.  They achieved something and learned to pat themselves on the back because there was no one else around to do it for them.  And that was okay, for those people who created that life for themselves.  But I believe the generations who have inherited this living in isolation are in fact yearning for community.  And Facebook proves it.

We "share" our lives on Facebook because we need to feel connected.  Face-to-face connection is a frightening prospect for some and logistically difficult for others so connecting through the airwaves is good enough.  We desperately want to feel that our achievements or our kids' achievements or even our kids' kids' achievements mean something to someone in this great big world.  We hope that someone out there will give us a "like," a virtual pat on the back.

Community is about doing life together with a set of people.  It is about being family together even when there are no blood ties.  And I don't believe we get to choose our community.  I have learnt the hard way that we can try to engineer close ties with those we think are like-minded, only to have those ties wrenched apart.  God chooses our community.  It may be our blood-family if we are fortunate to still live near them.  It may be our immediate neighbour who also has no family nearby.  It may be the people in our church with whom we fellowship. I have heard it preached recently that all those who live their lives in obedience to God are in fact our family.  

Our community may be our friends on Facebook.

One of the ways community needs to do life together is to share a meal.   The New Testament is full of stories of Jesus having a meal with others, being welcomed into their homes or even sharing loaves and fishes with the masses.  And of course we have the Last Supper which is an example to the church of how we should break bread together, how we should do community together.  The very sharing of a meal seems to be an innate need of human nature.  So it is no coincidence that people have been posting pictures of their food on Facebook.  It as actually an invitation.  Quite simply it says, "I have made this.  It is good.  I wish you were here to share it with me."

I may not post a picture of my meal tonight but I do know that I am cooking a pot of soup and a loaf of bread.  Soup because Paul has to go to the hospital this afternoon to have some teeth pulled.  I think he may not be chewing much.  I am driving him in for his operation and friends of ours will look after the kids for us.  They are our community.  I didn't need to go onto Facebook with a virtual, "can someone please help look after the kids while I take my husband to the hospital?" although I have seen this done and the response to her cry for help brought tears to my eyes.  Community is there and people are willing to offer it.  Even in a virtual world.  Even on Facebook.

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