I am a newbie to the “Facebook” world, but through the persistent persuasion of our younger ministers I am now an official Facebook account holder. To the uninitiated, Facebook is an online networking site that is yet another way individuals can connect with one another through the internet. It is a version of a “blog” that can potentially connect you with millions of people, assuming you actually know millions of people.
I must say I have enjoyed it in spite of myself. Through Facebook I have reconnected with friends from college days and former churches. I am also discovering that if you want to communicate with youth, Facebook is the way to go.
One of the interesting things about Facebook is that a user can create a virtual identity. What I mean by that is the user can create a profile through pictures, books, music and a many other categories. In short, it can be a way to be somebody, electronically speaking. I am thinking about profiling myself as a superhero, like the Hulk or Batman.
For me its most amusing feature is the notion of being a friend and inviting others to be a friend. The way a user connects with others is to ask to be a friend or a “friend request.” An email is sent making the request and the other person can accept the request, deny the request, or ignore the request.
Making friends through Facebook is rather simplified. It reminds me of my days in Eatonton Grammar School when I was a first grader and asked this beautiful second grader would she be my friend: please check yes or no. We all know, however, that making real friends is not as easy as an email exchange. It requires mutuality, trust, and the willingness to work at a relationship.
The believing community is a gathering of friends. Quakers, for example, refer to fellow members as friends. In Proverbs 17:17 we are reminded that “A friend loves at all times…” Jesus was described as a friend to others (especially to the “undesirables.”). One of the Greek words often translated as friend is philos, which also means beloved. Friends love one another, pray for one another, support one another and are present to one another. Not a bad way to define a gathering.
Will you be my friend? If you are on Facebook send me an invitation. For all the rest, just love me, pray for me, support me, and be with me. I will covenant with you to do the same.