I was reading a great post this morning by Darrell Creswell, “Jesus and Grandpa Knew – It’s a Small World After All.” He was talking about the lasting impact his grandpa had made, even though he hadn’t travelled much outside the county of his birth. And also how Jesus never travelled more than 90 miles from His home, yet changed the world forever.
Something resonated deep in my heart. It was about connection.
And it got me thinking about how disconnected I feel sometimes. Especially, when I miss loved ones who are far away. Friends that I used to hang out with, share life with, who are now living that life somewhere else.
With all our social networking and the world literally at our fingertips, why are we growing more disconnected? And if the world is getting smaller, why do we seem farther away from each other?
Did the generation of our grandparents understand something we don’t? They didn’t travel like we do, have the technology we have, but they seemed to know how to connect every part of their lives together–the good, the bad, and the ugly. And I don’t mean the Facebook kind of connection, but the face to face, front porch, back yard, sitting around the kitchen table kind of connection.
Maybe social networking is so popular because we’re reaching out for something that’s haunting our souls, something we long for but can never seem to find?
Not that that there’s anything inherently wrong with our digital community. In many ways it’s wonderful. It’s just that it can never satisfy this disconnect deep within our souls.
According to various studies, about 95 percent of communication is non-verbal. So, how do I really communicate at a deep level with you with just words?
Even God didn’t just leave us with words. No, the greater part of our relationship with God is in the fact that He came to live inside of us, at the innermost part of who we are. You can’t get any more connected than that!
Life is about connection.
We have life with God when our human spirit is connected with His Spirit at salvation.
Conversely, the word, “death” means “separation.” As James points out (2:26), our physical death is when our spirit disconnects from our body. Spiritual death is when we are disconnected from God’s Spirit.
C.S. Lewis, in his profoundly insightful work, “The Great Divorce,” describes a place where people are living in their own infinitely expanding suburbs because they just can’t get along with each other. They are left to drift endlessly apart, forever busy with their own agendas. And, as Lewis points out, they prefer it that way.
Of course, he was describing hell.
And it sounds eerily like this Matrix-like construct we’re living in today. Everywhere you look, people are systematically growing more relationally distant.
With all of our social networking, advancing technology, forever busy with our own agendas, are we becoming relationally “dead?” Creating our own relational “hell,” if you will?
Oh yeah, we still talk a lot. But it’s mostly superficial, information-level communication, held together by our affinities. In churches, it’s in our doctrinal agreement. It’s the “as long as you meet my needs we will stay together” kind of connections.
We are more alone together than ever.
We seem to have given up on the deeper, more intimate aspects of communication that requires trust, honest vulnerability, mutual respect, honor and devotion to one another, no matter the personal cost.
Because relational life is about heart connection. And the deepest and most fulfilling kind is intimacy, which requires living life from love instead of our fears and insecurities.
The reality is, families are becoming more relationally distant and foundations built over generations are crumbling because of divorce, unresolved relational issues and other interests.
And sadly, because of this relational disconnect, there is whole generation growing up now who have never known the transcendent wonder of being brought into something much bigger than themselves, which is the heritage of multi-generational families living life together.
When we describe a life where everybody is just looking out for themselves without any awareness or care for others, or about what has gone before them or what will happen after them, we are describing living like orphans, not a family.
Hey, if I don’t like what you’re saying to me in my digital world of relationships, I can just disconnect from you with the click of a button or a touch on my screen. Or I will go to a different church. Move to a different town. You are out of my life.
The problem is, every broken connection takes a piece of us with it.
But here’s what I’m getting at. If you have family living with you, near you, invite them over, hug them, tell them how much you love them. Waste your time with them.
But many of us find ourselves living in some state of disconnect, from broken relationships, or maybe those we love are just far away from us now. That’s just a fact of the world we live in. So what can we do?
To quote the famous philosopher from the 60’s, Stephen Stills, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with!” (Except, I mean relationally here, not sexually).
This holiday season, make your world smaller. Invite some people over to your house or apartment, throw a party, join a group, get to know some acquaintances better. But do it in person. Be a friend, a neighbor. Yeah, turn off your digital socializer and actually spend time talking to someone face to face. You might like it! And it will do a lot for your soul.
- Jesus and Grandpa Knew–It’s a Small World After All (darrellcreswell.wordpress.com)