Is Being More Connected a Benefit or a Curse?
Technology May Keep Us Connected but It Can Leave Us Empty
As a society, we’re more connected than ever before. But many people also feel lonelier than ever. With all our connection opportunities, why is this?
Our smart phones and social media allow us to communicate and stay in touch with more people than we ever could in the past. These technologies erase distance and compensate for time differences. We can communicate instantly with most anyone in the world. We can also enjoy shifted communication with people in different time zones or who are on different schedules.
Yet despite all these connections, it’s challenging to truly connect on a deep, meaningful level. The internet or wireless communication doesn’t allow us to be physically present with another person. We can’t reach out and touch a friend online. Giving someone a heart-felt hug is impossible on social media. These things fall short in providing us with the true, interpersonal connection we need.
We Need Community to Enjoy True Connection
The reason that technology can’t provide meaningful connection is that we crave community. And an online community is a poor substitute for a real, in-person community. We desire to be physically present with others and engage in living life with them. Though technology can mimic it (and for some people this is all they have, sorry), it can’t truly replace it.
This is because God created us for community. We have an innate desire to be in community with others. God desires to be in community with us, just as the Godhead—the three in one Trinity—exists in community with itself. Remember, he created us in his image. That means if community is important to him, it’s inherently important to us. But how can we find community in today’s highly connected but physically isolated society?How can we find community in today’s highly connected but physically isolated society? Click To Tweet
The Church Should Provide Community
Though people debate the purpose of church, a key reason for church is to provide community for its people. Every church should exist to provide community, fulfilling that desire for internal connection that God placed within us. Unfortunately, too many churches fail at providing a safe, nurturing community for their people. Some churches neglect this responsibility altogether, while others try to offer it, but they fall short.
Though connecting with people online has its value, it’s a poor substitute for what we truly need. Don’t login hoping to find meaningful connection and community online; go to church instead.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.