Last Saturday was the last swim meet of the year, championships. Like most parents at this important event in their child’s life I posted pics to social media. Sunday afternoon I called my mom, 72, in Western Nebraska. She said she had visited her sister, 77, the night before and my aunt pulled up Facebook to show my mom the pics from champtionships. Mom was so excited! But not as excited as my daughter, Grace, tonight when we set her up with a Facebook account so that she could more easily connect with her brother, headed to college in three weeks. Speaking of J. T., he Tweets away during ballgames and has made sufficient connections to get an article published on a Royals fanpage, @royalsreview [http://www.royalsreview.com/2014/7/7/5878833/baseball-prospectus-day-at-kauffman-2014].
You might be surprised to know that several times a few years ago during a sermon or two I bemoaned the rise of social media. I griped that it distracts people from work and life. I doubted that true ‘friend’ status can be fostered from a distance. Friends need face-to-face, I said. Fellowship in the Biblical sense requires personal interaction, not pictures of what someone had for lunch. The catalogue of pitfalls to social media extends further still. Language can be crass. There is an increasing need for privacy. Some things are better left not posted or should be spoken in private. Words matter, and too much talk is too much talk. And sometimes social media opportunes relationships that should not be pursued—as ERLC President Russell Moore noted in an interview earlier this week [http://nypost.com/2014/07/21/facebook-and-infidelity-part-cause-part-symptom/].
But I have come to see that families and believers can employ social media to connect and encourage. As older family members become tech literate connections can be made across generations. Believers can connect with international partners in real time and more easily be involved in their work. People you sit by at church each week become daily contacts. Christian news and worldview info are available 24/7. Biblical texts and commentary can be posted and read and discussed by ‘friends’ around the world. Husbands and wives might even employ social media to grow in a Christian worldview together. So I was wrong about social media—sort of.