Online Dating

When my wife and I were first getting to know each other, we played a game called, "What of the following things haven't I done?" It made for a lot of laughs as we sought the most clever ways to stump each other. But we did learn a lot of facts. For example, I learned that she was from North Jersey which was, as far as I was concerned, just a big suburb of New York. It wasn't until I actually visited her home area that I discovered how wrong and narrow my preconceptions about that region were.

We all do this.

And with things like Facebook, it's even easier to know everything there is to know about our friends. Forgot their phone number? It's on Facebook. Wondering whether they found a job? Facebook. Can't remember their birthday? You'll get a notification. On Facebook. It's actually kinda strange; you can know where a person grew up without ever asking them. But knowing that I grew up in Hainesport, New Jersey won't explain why I grew up angry and depressed.You'll have to ask me that (or just read my blog, I suppose).

It's not that I think that the information age hasn't made great strides in making our lives easier. I love that I don't have to remember all of my friends' phone numbers anymore. I love that I don't have to memorize my bank account number or even leave my home to deposit a check. And like many people, I love that I can write this post from the convenience of wherever I choose. Truth be told, I have nothing against these advances because it's our choice to make of them what we will. Rather, I think we're witnessing the fruition of a 400-year-old way of thinking.

Social media is essentially applying the scientific method to relationships. Who you are can be boiled down to a collection of data. People are even being matched up based on calculations like this.

photo credit: Adam Pilarski via photopin cc
Now imagine for a moment that your relationship with your significant other existed entirely online. Seriously, look over your interchanges and take those as the summation of who the two of you are as a couple. You can't be any more than that because in this hypothetical, that's all that exists of you. Like what you see? I don't. Not that I'm ashamed of how I engage my wife online or anything, but I'm glad that my marriage is so much more than that.

It's impersonal, right? Well, data is impersonal. Which sort of flies in the face of what social media is attempting to do.The funny part is, that's how the church has been engaging God for centuries.

Imagine God having a social media account. No, I don't mean Facebook fan pages or fake Jesus Twitter accounts. I mean the real deal. Of course, most well known people don't manage their own accounts, so that duty would fall to someone else. Perhaps the local church. So the leadership of this church begin developing the page and the About section.

How you do capture God in a Facebook profile? They write a few things down. Living: heaven. Work: creator, lord. Relationship: trinity. And so on. But they run into a problem when they hit the Likes part. Disagreement erupts, and pretty soon you have "the OFFICIAL God" profile and "the TRUE God" profile and "the ORTHODOX God" profile.

Naturally, most people don't know the difference so they pick which profile to become friends with based on the number of common Likes they share. Sounds silly. But it also sounds familiar. The only difference is that today we call those About sections doctrinal statements.

This is what modernism has reduced us to. The local Protestant church has turned into But not only can you not synthesize God into pretty little positive statements, you can't pick and choose things about him like Mr. Potato Head.

He's a person. I think. Or better, person is a conception based on how God interacts with us. Either way, we have to get to know him. Not through our own futile efforts of objective research, data analysis, and social media statistics. But through revelation and relationship.