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Sunday, March 6, 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog. Life keeps getting in the way. Too, I sometimes wonder whether another blurb will benefit anyone. We’re drifting away from personal communication in favor of impersonal communication. What once was done face to face has been substituted by pecking out half-messages on a teensy keyboard. We’ve told ourselves the usual old saw: it’s progress. Carried in that axiom is the implication that progress is a good thing. Not always. History has proven that. As an instructor of communication studies, I grow increasingly concerned by how unimportant human interaction has become. People aren’t valued enough to spend time with.

Technology replaces touch. Texts replace time. Innovation replaces intimacy.

Perhaps nowhere is this bent toward mechanicalizing communication more disconcerting than in our relationship with God. He doesn’t text. He doesn’t tap out a message on an ipad, cell phone, or computer. He’s still communicating face to face, and through His Word. How will our lust for the fast and easy impact our spiritual destination? It’s a sobering thought. Yet, society as a whole craves what is easy, fast, and—frankly—phoney. Starbucks relationships give us the impression of real intimacy without any of the mess of actually having to work at it.

However, these “just add water and stir” relationships aren’t lasting ones. They don’t nourish our spirits, they don’t encourage us to engage and invest in one another. Quite the opposite. We’re becoming more disconnected by the hour and no one seems to care about that. We’re all too busy with the newest techno-gadget to notice that we are slipping further from knowing how to work real relationships.

My prayer is that we (especially Christians) will wake up to the alarming trend for the quick and easy. God isn't quick, and at times, He isn't easy, but He's always God. He set the standard for healthy relationships by His example and in His Word.

This kind of relationship equates to effort, and many simply do not want to expend energy in order to have a healthy relationship--even with God. This is certainly a choice but not a wise one. By our preference for Starbucks relationships, we are sending a message to our friends: you aren't important enough for me spend time with.

Real relationships require: commitment, investment, and time. Accept no substitutes.


Roger said...

The quality of what you say, what you share is more important than the frequency; as always, good words here, Debbi! I can definitely relate to your thoughts about spirits not nourished, not engaged or encouraged, feeling disconnected and that sense of slipping.

I was explaing to someone recently my own struggles with Swing Shift (almost a year now); how I am a relational person and not getting much personal interaction. I come home to a house asleep; awaken to an empty home (everyone away at work). Saturday finds me trying to catch up on sleep, and adjusting my schedule for worship on Sunday, leaving me only half-a day Sunday to connect with others. Just not enough time!

If I feel this way as someone with a strong faith & regular relation with my Lord, how much more so, those not so strong, not so regular. This encourages me to work harder on those friendships and relationships that get easily lost in the busy-ness of life.


Jenny Mertes said...

Debbi, you are so right about investing in friendships. A friend once told me about a class on friendships that she took at Ogden Hall, and the theme was (as I remember her telling it) that a true friendship requires a commitment of heart and of time, in both quantity and quality. Otherwise it's simply an acquaintanceship. I'm acquainted with a lot of people but have invested in too few true friendships. I appreciate hearing from you about how important that is, especially today when the word "friend" is used as a verb meaning "to click a button in order to communicate electronically with another human." And I need to be a true friend of God, which means spending quantity AND quality time with Him.

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