A couple of months ago I came across a book from the well known Christian Author Tim Chester called “Will You be My Facebook Friend?”. While I read it hoping it to be a useful tool in engaging with todays internet culture, I found something I felt was a little negative about the use of social media.
Tim Chester, a Christian author I respect a great deal, has recently written a blog series on the dangers of Facebook. In one post, he wrote this:
“Facebook encourages you to live elsewhere. The gospel encourages you to live life here and now.
You can tend your Farmville farm or you can get an allotment.
You can catch up with friends on Facebook or you can go out on a cold, dark night to see real friends…
You can build a new city on Sims or you can be the city of God set on a hill with your Christian community.”
Is he right? Is Facebook opposed to the gospel?
I know where he’s coming from: there is a great temptation to spend time online. It can be more attractive, particularly to introverts, to withdraw from physical social interaction and correspond with friends by computer. Because of the ‘false safety’ of the medium, there is a temptation to say online what you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. This can lead to online bullying or promote an accelerated intimacy which can spark affairs.
To his credit, Tim Chester really lives out what he speaks and is known for being a leader of a church community that genuinely seeks to share their lives with each other. I think this is commendable, and a challenge to the majority of us who don’t make the effort to engage in true Christian community. I deeply respect him for this.
However, I would like to challenge his claims. Like many others, he falls into the false dichotomy of online and ‘real’ relationships…
Read the rest over at tanyamarlow.com
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