Ep. 407 The New and Dangerous Way Christians Build Community

Ep. 407 The New and Dangerous Way Christians Build Community

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Shows Main Idea – The novelty of social media has turned deadly, but many Christians do not know how it’s eating away at the soul of the church. It has been so subtle (and fun) that we are amusing ourselves to spiritual death. And we’re exporting our cyber behavior to our children as they grow up in a world where gathering, worshiping, and spurring one another on to love and good works is for past generations. The process of life in the cyber world happened in four strategic steps.

Life Over Coffee · Ep. 407 The New and Dangerous Way Christians Build Community

Show Notes

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Step One: Minimize Community

The mocking term “three to thrive” is a tongue-in-cheek way of talking about those who religiously hold to attending church meetings twice on Sunday and once on Wednesday evening. This pejorative is unfortunate because of the overreaction to gathering as a local church community.

The rise of social media has stepped into the void of minimal church gatherings, creating a false intimacy that assumes connectedness. With this lowering view of the local church, many folks do not sense the need for these gatherings because they can “take their favorite communities with them” wherever they go because of the ubiquitous social media.

The answer is somewhere in the middle. To thrive, we don’t need three monologue meetings a week—staring at the back of someone’s head. But we must be gathering in real-time and space, caring for each other for the health of the body of Christ, our families, and our personal lives.

Step Two: Normalize Cyber-community

  • Why are parents surprised their children love social media when they have spent years normalizing social media by the parents’ usage, i.e., Facebook.
  • If you normalize behavior, don’t be surprised when children imitate you.
  • Parents are the ones who impress on little kids what is right and wrong.
  • The hope is that Christians will get over the fad and novelty of Facebook and other social media platforms.
  • It’s unwitting narcissism to put the best spin on it, showing where you ate, the game you attended, the party you had, and the beach where you had your vacation.

Step Three: Encourage Peer-Mentoring

In recent decades, social media is not healthy for kids. The problem is that peers do not provide stable, reliable, mature love that children need—which means that children who are peer-directed will always be insecure. – Nancy Pearcey

For the first time in the history, young people are turning for instruction, modeling and guidance not to mothers, fathers, teachers, and other responsible adults but to people whom nature never intended to place in a parenting role—their own peers. They are not manageable, teachable or maturing because they no longer take their cues from us. Instead, children are being brought up by immature persons who cannot possibly guide them to maturity. – Gabor Matre, author of Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers

Psychologists tell us that children thrive only if they form a strong, stable attachment to a caring adult. But social media is so ubiquitous today that ever-younger children are forming their primary attachment to their peers—even when they are still living at home and even when they have loving, conscientious parents. Peer pressure is alienating children from those who love them most.

One study found that father-teen interactions in the United States today are simply not strong “enough to transmit the knowledge values, attitudes, and skills that adult males should pass on to their children.” As a result, children are losing touch with the wider perspective of adults. Their perspective becomes narrow and obsessive. Today the most common cause of suicide among young people is not rejection by their parents but rejection by their peers. – Nancy Pearcey

Step Four: New Tower of Babel

One Mind, One Thought

  • Cancel culture: If you don’t believe in the “tower of Babel,” we will cancel you.
  • Suicide rates are spiking: Because the people are of one mind, most kids are killing themselves.
  • Gender transition has spiked: Because science cannot define what a man and woman are, more kids are transitioning.

Call to Action

  1. What is one way you can cut back on your social media usage?
  2. What is your plan to reduce your device time?
  3. Study these four points before you give your child a phone. Is your child ready for a phone based on the four points in that poster?
  4. What other changes do you need to make based on this episode?
  5. What does it mean to use technology and social media redemptively?
  6. What are your plans to spread the fame of Christ by your technology habits?

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