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lesson from Facebook and Bebo

Church is a social network

An article in our local newspaper described the probable closing down of Bebo:

The site has lost members to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

Kaila Colbin, of Christchurch social media consultant Missing Link, compared Bebo to a party that people wanted to leave.

“You go to a party, everyone’s having a good time, but suddenly the momentum changes and someone says, `Let’s go to the pub’,” Colbin said. “And people start flowing out. And when people flow out, there is no way to recover that energy.

“The more you try, the more desperate you look and the more people want to leave.”

Now reread the above, and instead of Bebo think “church” – your parish, diocese, whatever. Any echoes?

Do you see any parishes, dioceses, churches trying one program after another, organising non-church-type events for youth and then being disappointed that the young people aren’t taking the bait-and-switch and turning up to services to help assist members of the congregation up to the altar rails and put money on the plate to maintain the pretty building? Let’s acknowledge there is some truth in the observation that organised religion is looking to produce better programs, spirituality is looking to produce better people.

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4 Responses to lesson from Facebook and Bebo

  1. Great thoughts there Bosco! I personally find it disappointing when churches focus on new innovations to bring in new members but refuse to do the one thing which history shows us brings in new (true) members, which is to proclaim the undiluted, uncompromised and unmodified Gospel – ‘that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures’.

    Paint-balling, whilst undoubtedly fun, fails to demonstrate sin and its consequence before the wrath of God and fails to proclaim the work Christ for the salvation to all who believe. We meet together as the Church (or we should) in response to the Gospel, so it is vitally important that new members are brought in not only for the Gospel but by the Gospel.

    Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you — unless you believed in vain.

    For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
    –I Corinthians 15:1-5;ESV

  2. Christ said ‘you are like children shouting to one another in the market place ..’hey, I piped but you did not dance’ and ‘hey, I mourned but you did not weep’….Have we stopped to consider what it is we have piped and what it is we have mourned? and why the music didnt result in a wonderful dance and why the offered mourning didnt produce tears of mutual grief?

    Churches ARE trying to woo the world and the leaving flocks.
    Its not personal. When you do not feed the flock they perish or look for other pastures, when you have nothing to offer the world, it does not respond. Tuneless piping and empty mourning are governed by the laws of reciprocity.

    What is an undiluted, uncompromised and unmodified Gospel?

    I am very certain of the response I would get from ‘the man on the bus’ if I said ‘Christ died for your sins in accordance with the Scriptures’..the man on the bus wants to know how to relieve his pain from financial debt, emotional poverty (et al), mental unwellness, stress, his personal demons, mourning and the reasons why he cant dance anymore….he wants a committed friendship to share the pain of the journey even if his journey begins under the bridge or in the gutter and every now & then he will get a glimpse of this Yeshua that we pray to and talk about as we wipe wounds and pour ourselves out in service….thats the undiluted, uncompromised and unmodified Gospel….:)

  3. Thanks Patti,

    You saved me some keystrokes.

    Thanks too Fr. Bosco for the post.

    I think that people are actually amenable to to more than flash-in-the-pan entertainment. I just don’t know that it’s about growth quarter-to-quarter. I’m suspicious of thronging crowds as a major criterion for meaning, substance or being on the right path.

    Perhaps the problem of organized religion is the in trying to institutionalize mysticism and metanoia. Such a process is a little like trying to bottle lightning. The problem is in the bottling, the striving to contain for control and transmission, and quest for on-demand availability.

    The problem is not in the lightning, which is always happening somewhere. I think that spirituality recollects and reflects on the lightning. Real theology can deepen and extend the meaning and the call of lightning for us. True religion would go where the lightning is, which would require discernment and flexibility, a willingness to move, to change, to risk, to be late, to be disappointed, but at least to go. True religion might set out create some lightning itself, instead of trying to convince people that it has the one, true lightning, when there’s obviously none around anymore (though the enheartening story circulates that once a very long time ago a real humdinger of a storm was witnessed that changed everyone who lived through it). Sometimes almost by accident, the real-thing occurs, but the causative conditions and antecedents are usually snuffed out pretty quickly by the chief lightning bottlers.

    Peace and Blessings

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About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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