Church Attendance is a Discipline

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The Coronavirus has wounded the American Church in a way that many cannot see yet. As social distancing measures lift and other post-pandemic precautions ease, some Christians are hesitant to return to the Church. Presented with the convenience of watching a worship service on Facebook or YouTube, many believers are making the intentional choice to stay at home. Telling themselves, “The virus is still out there, we still need to protect ourselves for another month or two.” Happy in their newfound sermon consumption that doesn’t require one to ever leave the home. Or better yet, require them to sit with their kids in the worship service due to the church’s children’s program not being up and running.

Photo by Ajeet Mestry on Unsplash

Meanwhile, In Social Media Land…

  • I can see that you recently volunteered on a project.
  • I can see that you went and visited the zoo.
  • I can see that you are hanging out with friends and family.
  • I can see you doing all of these things, and yet, I haven’t seen your happy face at church.

Gathering with fellow believers, attending church, this is a Christian discipline. What I have hated seeing, in these pandemic times, is how quickly that discipline has been let go; convenience and inconvenience pushing against one another.

I am not advocating for fellow believers to come back to church in order to check a box. I am advocating for fellow believers to come, grow, and encourage other believers with your presence.

I keep asking myself, “Is Jesus enough of a commonality to hold believers together in these times?” My answer is of course, Jesus is enough. But, I think these pandemic times are revealing who church attendance is important to.

  • Our Time
  • Our Talents
  • Our Treasures

All of these things communicate to both the world and our fellow believers where our priorities lie.

I want to encourage my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to push past their preferences and convenience. The withdrawal of your presence is hurting others, silently wounding the Church in the process. Please do not let being in the habit of attending church slip away and become your new normal. Your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ miss you.

I miss you too.

From Across the Net – “I Made Myself Lose My Phone”

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Relationship versus connection…

“We think we have a relationship with someone [when using social media] but what we have is a connection,” explains Larry Rosen, an expert in the psychology of technology at California State University. “Connection is part of communication, but it’s not all communication. Communication is pulling in various cues about the person you are communicating with that include things like body language, tone of voice, a roll of the eyes. Through social media, you don’t get that. You are reading what they wrote and then jotting down a few words of comment, but it’s not the richness of communication.”

You can read more here

From Across the Net – “Technology and our anxious hearts”

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Working in an office, I have constant access to social media. All day, everyday, I keep up with the news as it unfolds around the world. Once the weekend hits, my access to social media declines. I take the weekends off from blogging. At home, I find that I check Facebook, Twitter, and email out of boredom/to fill time. What I have noticed though is that I feel much more at peace over the weekends minus the constant social media connection.

Reuben Bredenhof wrote a piece titled “Technology and our anxious hearts“.

The problem is that our sinful natures will always say that if we could just have our idols (whatever they are), eventually they’ll be able to satisfy us. That goes all the way back to Paradise. What more could Adam or Eve want than what God had given? But Satan said, “Escape your creature-hood. Define your own truth. Keep the glory for yourself. Why miss out on becoming like God with just one bite?”

You can read more here

From Across the Net – “Instagram, Twitter, and the Longing for Approval”

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Russell Moore wrote great article titled: “Instagram, Twitter, and the Longing for Approval”. I liked this:

One needn’t spend very much time with parents of teenagers with heavy social media usage to see how many of them are battling a generalized anxiety specific to social media itself. It’s hard enough to be an adolescent, wondering constantly where one fits it and what others think of you, without having a mechanism that purports to show you the answers to those questions with raw data, all of the time. Such a life is like a politician checking his or her daily tracking poll numbers, except without an election at the end.

I’m not sure about you, but I struggle with the constant influx of information. Watching my blog stats, in real time, to see how many people are liking/reading my posts. And then agonizing over my traffic numbers as they’ll never top JBG’s traffic from 2010 (I have no clue what happened that year). Sounds silly typing all that out…

Read more here

From Across the Net – “Why Facebook’s Bans Warrant Concern”

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Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

I had caught a headline on this, last week, and thought it was disturbing. Moderation is a tricky task where the easy path equals censorship versus allowing conversations to take place.

Facebook’s speech rules were already vague and malleable. And now the platform is apparently evaluating at least some of its users actions off its pages. This means a person can potentially face social-media bans even if they comply with every syllable of the company’s speech rules on the company’s platform.

You can read more here