Being a Christian in the Digital Age

Being a Christian in the Digital Age

A little over 10 days ago I found out that a close relative of mine had a stroke. He’s only 12 years old. I praise God that he’s doing much better now and is finally at home. It was very scary. Joel is one person that I hold very dear to my heart, so when I got a text from my mother down in Florida saying that Joel had fainted in school, I knew something was wrong. Once I found it was a stroke and that he wasn’t able to speak or move the right side of his body, I was saddened to a point that only tears could express. Being so far away and knowing very little people in Kansas, I turned to Facebook, to my friends and acquaintances for solace. I turned to my Christian brothers and sisters on there, asking for prayer and support.

I was filled with joy when I saw that over 70 people were praying for Joel. And I think God heard those prayers because Joel is miraculously recovering. I was pleasantly surprised to see the support from people I had just recently met and even from people who I’m not sure whether they are believers or not. To everyone who commented or liked the posts, I appreciate it a lot. I’ll always be thankful.

However, there were a few people that I was counting on that never said a word. Not that these people are particularly close to me, but I assumed that in a moment of trouble for a fellow Christian, these other Christians would show up and “like,” “comment,” send a text or call. And just to clarify, these were not strangers, but people that I have spend time with. But there was a painful silence from their part.

In a period of 10 days me and my wife shared updates about my cousin’s health, so I know that at least some of these friends saw one of our posts, but nothing. I saw plenty of their banal posts, banal at least when compared to a 12-year-old’s possible brain damage, so I know they were online.

Christians and Facebook

Some of you might say, “well, Facebook is not real life.” Oh, but it is. How much time do you spend on Facebook? How many times have you asked for prayer and encouragement on there? Facebook is just a tool, but there are real people behind it. Real people with real feelings. In my case, having moved to the state of Kansas recently, Facebook is about the best communication tool I have with some friends.

And just to be clear, these Christian friends that I’m talking about didn’t call either. It was a complete blockade. Now, I know that this doesn’t mean that they didn’t pray for Joel. There’s no way for me to know that. However, the person asking for prayer is always in need of comfort and support. A sick person is never the only one affected in a family. If these friends actually cared, they would have made their support and prayer known, even if it was just through a “like.” But again, there was nothing.

Breaking the Cliques

So, my question then is, where is the Christian brotherly love? If we are supposed to be a family, where is the support, the affection, the love? Now, I’m not just picking on a select group of people, but this is something that I’ve noticed throughout my life. We all sing praises in church and go to Bible studies, but there’s no real community, no real fellowship. At least not with me. At least not with my wife. Is it because I’m new to Kansas and everyone already has their group of friends? Is it because my wife left to live with me for a year in Miami and now everyone formed new friends? If this is so, doesn’t family trump cliques and groups? What family? Well, the supposedly Christian family we are all part of.

How many people leave churches because they feel left out? Countless. Maybe you were one of them at some point. So I know that me and Elena are not the only ones. When I look at the Bible, I know that this is not the way things are supposed to be. There are times when being around other Christians is the loneliest thing in the world. There’s nothing sadder than that. I don’t want my children to grow up in a superficial church like that. I want my children to be welcoming and loving, not to form their little groups and call that fellowship. That isn’t true fellowship. That’s elitism at best.

Christians are supposed to show love to all, but especially to other Christians. And honestly, I’m tired of not seeing it.

If there was ever a time when I have not been there for you, my brother or sister, I repent and I’m sorry. I will do better next time. I hope my Christian friends who failed me this time, will do so, too.

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