Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Capturing Social Media For Christ

Dancing has never been one of my strong suits, but, that has not stopped people from putting me in positions where I had to do something that appeared to look like dancing. 
As a teen I was taught to dance in the Shona style and my Dad required I perform at my wedding in Zimbabwe by asking the Chief to make it a royal decree. During the Disco era Judi took me to dancing classes to learn the "Travolta" disco. Neither were all that pretty. So you can guess how I feel about Square Dancing. 
I do admire the callers "docy doeing" and "change your partners" cadence and marvel at the way the dancers seem to anticipate each sudden change of direction, but, after a brief trial run put it into the "not a Sherman thing" pretty quick. I realized as I watched from a safe distance that most of the changes being called were in some "Square Dancers Procedures Manuel" and therefore not sudden or unexpected at all. In fact there were no "make'em up changes" that could be thrown in on a whim. "Toss your partner an ice cold drink, now, slug it down before they can think."
I believe change in life is very similar. There are a limited number of options to chose from when faced with any given situation. The fact that those options may not be personally desirable, I believe, is the reason most of us resist change. We want to make up our own set of options and one of them is almost always to reject the change or to to reject the personal responsibility to adapt to the change. 
Social media is a big change for many of the "boomer" generation and not a few of the "buster." I have learned, the hard way, that rejecting it on the basis of my age only leaves me disconnected from family and friends (and even workmates) who have adopted its use. I have had quite a bit of time to adapt to this new reality and am therefore "without excuse" if I persist in rejecting texting, tweeting, facebooking, and, linkdening. 
The core outcome sought by these media are the same as the ones I desired first as a completely "unconnected" person in the bush of Zimbabwe and later as an early adopter of email. Relationship, communication, and inclusion are universals among God's sentient creation. I reject the new methods at my own peril of being left out of the loop and on the side lines.
For that same reason the church, God's tool for administering God's Gospel, resists adapting to the changing environment around us. We do not face extinction but the far worse fate of irrelevance. We have something far more precious than a video of cats meowing the theme from Wolverine - if there isn't one I am sure there will be one soon enough. Capturing our culture for Christ requires that we put our technology where our hearts are. I am trying - I encourage you to do the same.

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