Thursday, August 5, 2010

Our Postmodern Culture Desires Community

Pastor Brian S. Chan in The New Oz (EFCA Today Winter '09 p. 281):

MySpace, Twitter, texting, Youtube, Wordpress, and Facebook are not based on disseminating information but on fostering community. Our postmodern culture desires community.
[. . .]
So, in our current culture, where does community happen? And how can we harness that cultural venue to both build and engage community so that it becomes the context in which the gospel is made known, honest discussions take place and relationships are started and nurtured for discipleship? Technological venues could be the forefront of church ministry. 

This is not to say that technology is a substitute for in-person interactions. Neither should be a substitute for the other. Look at another historical periods when technology experienced a major leap: the invention of the printing press in 1453. Martin Luther's famous 95 theses were widely publicized through the printing press. An ingenious machine traversed the distances between the communities, allowing one man's thoughts to connect with countless people who resonated with his message

Like the era of the printing press, perhaps we also live in a pivotal time of advancement that opens incredible doors of communal influence for the gospel. [Emphasis Mine]

Well, I just realized that I forgot to added my comments on the matter, which besides making for a more un-interesting read also makes this technically illegal. Thankfully EFCA didn't mind, they very nice, took it in-stride, and even mentioned me on their Facebook page2.

Never the less, I'm still going to add my missing comments.

It should be noted that there is a difference between using Social Networking for engaging in the community and using it as a way to be "cool and trendy". Between reaching out to the community, and becoming like the community3. One holds up the Bible as The Light in a dark world; the other tries to be like the world. One leads to the Church changing the culture, the other to the culture changing the Church.

And also, on the nerdy front; I disagree with him when he says "[social networks] are not based on disseminating information but on fostering community". Rather, they are based on Disseminating Information4 for the purpose of fostering community. Facebook and Twitter are to distribute and discuss status updates, Blogger and Wordpress to write thoughts, YouTube to publish video. These are all The Dissemination of Information, but rather than intending you to learn from the info, they intend you to connect,or network with other people, socialization, hence: Social Networking.

  1. EFCA Today Winter 2009:
  2. EFCA's Facebook Page:
  3. "cool and trendy":
  4. The Dissemination of Information:


  1. "Like the era of the printing press, perhaps we also live in a pivotal time of advancement that opens incredible doors of communal influence for the gospel."

    Wow. I never thought about that before, but it's becoming more and more true. I see it in my own life and in the lives of those around me. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. You're welcome, thanks for the comment.

    Dominus Vobiscum

  3. Jackson, FYI we linked to your post on the EFCA Facebook page and asked the audience what they think about the quote you pulled from Brian Chan's article. Just wanted you to know.

    Yours in Christ,
    Donna Jump, EFCA Communications, Minneapolis

  4. Cool, thank you Ms. Jump.

    In coming back to this article though, I realized that I'd never added any of my own material making this a rather bad rip off of the EFCA's material.

    So, I've added my own thoughts, making it a derivative work, and entering into a fair use zone. Makes me feel better.

    Magister Dominus Vobiscum