I heard a fascinating interview a few days ago on CBC radio. The guest was relating some comments from the founder(s) of Twitter. For those not in the 140 character loop, let's just say that if you are reading this you are only a click away from discovering what it is. The interviewee related a story about the early days of the Twitter concept. Why did these entrepreneurs think their idea would fly? The answer was simple: people today are looking for "connection without expectation". This is exactly what Twitter (and in some ways its big brother Facebook) can provide in endless measure. In a form of Newspeak, "friend" can mean either your lifelong companion or someone to give you an energy boost in Mafia Wars, or help raise your vegetables in Farmville, or simply someone who signed onto some cause you promoted, without the slightest intention of actually participating.
This idea of "connection without expectation" is one of the problems of the contemporary church. From a marketing point of view it is a great guiding principle for our outreach and evangelism and whatever else you want to throw in the pot. Seen from the vantage point of creating real Christian community, however, it is problematic. We always run the risk of becoming (or remaining - take your pick) aloof, independent and alone. "Connection" finds its illusory power in some vague sense of the word, without the expectation that connection with another human being in community involves care, love, friendship.
It is interesting that one of the readings for this coming Sunday in church is from the Genesis story of the creation of man/woman. It is the story of the first human community.
Add as Friend.