“Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature.” Laudato Si #47
Over the last three months I have been making it a mission of mine to seek out face to face contact with friends and family as opposed to internet communication. Now granted, Pope Francis wrote this Encyclical before I made it my mission to power down, but my goal had been laid out before hand. The reason that I’ve been so determined though is because I’ve been on sabbatical, otherwise I’m not sure I’d have been able to stick to it. It seems the Holy Father knows his 21st century audience well though.
How many of us fall into the category of ‘friending’ someone or ‘inviting’ someone to an upcoming event or asking folks to ‘like’ a page and assuming that those things are equivalent to displaying an emotional connection with them?
How many of us will comment on a thread or snapchat back a photo with a few remarks or pin something on a friend’s timeline thinking that it will be sufficient in following our friend’s life events?
Even sending emails and texts are so common place now that we forget how detached we really are from buy valtrex generic people when we correspond in such ways.
Not that we have to always speak face to face with one another; but over my three months of sabbatical, over my three months of intentional face to face interactions with folks that I had not seen in a long time I came to realize that my heart was aching for some of that real person interaction.
Will I give up my laptop for good? Probably not, I mean I’m typing this article on it right now, but will I be on my facebook page as much—nope—I really did enjoy calling up random contacts in my phone and chatting to see what was new in people’s lives, I liked getting together with folks over drinks and idly bantering about politics and religion (yep we went there), I was filled to the brim with pleasure over meeting up for a few minutes or even over a whole weekend with old friends as well as strangers and digging into each other’s pasts . Because being in community with one another is what being the church is, it’s what being a human being is, it’s what being a child of God is.
Hopefully you all will be inspired to do that too…to care for yourself while caring for those around you by being in community with them, the way that God intended.
–Samantha Houser, Program Support/Adjunct of Youth Ministry Iowa Conference & Pastor at Waukon Zion UCC