From the Q&A on UMPortal:
At a recent conference, I noticed that having mobile access to social networks made a difference in how I interacted there. Itâ€™s interesting, the shift thatâ€™s happened.
It really is. I was at a retreat where there were 25 of us in a cabin talking about faith and tech culture. People had their laptops open, tweeting about it in real-time. I think thatâ€™s super-cool, yet because of my counseling background Iâ€™m like, â€œI donâ€™t feel like weâ€™re as present with each other as we could be if we closed those and started really tuning in to one another.â€ So it was an interesting thing we had some good conversation about.
Iâ€™m just old enough to realize, â€œThis is kind of weird. This is really different, and I donâ€™t know what to do with it.â€
Yeah, it is weird, but starting to be acceptable even in the context of worship. To what extent is this â€œtuning outâ€ of the gathered community? I am not at all opposed to the connection of widely dispersed people via various social networking services and tools, but when does this become more like a move to the â€œfoyerâ€ and â€œdisengagementâ€? And what are the reactions of those â€œleft aloneâ€ in the physical space?
A while back a friend of mine told me of having lunch with a friend who he had not seen in a while. My friend was bemoaning the fact that his friend seemed hardly present with him at all, but rather to his â€œother conversationsâ€ which he was relaying to my friend as it happened. This seems to be a lot of crossing of the line.
Does a worshipping church community have a justifiable suspicion of such wholesale acceptance of â€œconnectedâ€ worship? Jesse Rice (author of The Church of Facebook) may well categorize this amongst his warnings about hyper-connectivity.
How does a community avail itself of useful and resourceful connections and also keep its attention and inter-connectedness to the ftf community intact?