Hope for Today
Speaking of the www, this came up on a social network as a memory in my newsfeed.
Monday, June 11, 2012
What Has Happened to Community
Every morning there was a knock on the door and there stood Al. Al the mailman. Al might be considered a peculiarity in today’s society but back in the late 60’s and 70’s Al considered it a joyful part of his job in delivering the mail. Not only did Al hand our mail to my mom he stood and chatted with her for about five to ten minutes. Al had created community.
After dinner during the hot summer nights we would go out on our porch to cool off and sit and talk with one another. Like clockwork our neighbors began coming out front to escape the heat of their homes as well. Normally it was hotter inside than out because we didn’t have central air conditioning and the floor fan just blew around hot air. Before long groups of neighbors were no longer on their porches but had gathered here and there in front of their homes to chat and catch up. We had created community.
My generation, the very, very end of the Baby Boomers is probably the last generation to truly experience this phenomenon. In today’s crazy 24/7/360 mentality we can grocery shop at 1:00am, get gas 24 hours a day, they use to close at 9:00pm, and one can shop at almost any store on a Sunday afternoon. The mall on Sunday’s, when I was growing up, was locked down tighter than Fort Knox. We text, we email, we communicate through any of the many various social networks, but do we actually interact face to face? What has happened to community?
Recently, I heard some staggering statistics on the use of social networks around the world. Face Book came in as number one and religion, any religion, ranked fourteen. It would appear that many would rather sit behind a computer or use their phone to socialize rather than have a face to face engaging conversation.
Why has this change in community become the new phenomenon? Perhaps the biggest reason is that many have to commute to their jobs whereas 30 years ago many people worked in the same city where they lived. Many, I am sure, feel there is not enough time for “me” let alone anyone else. Many are too tired to make the effort.
There is rest for our weary souls. Jesus tells us, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28. Jesus knew the fine art of community. Wherever he went people flocked to and around him. He engaged others, he made eye contact with them, he made them feel special. And, when the day was done his heavenly Father gave him the strength for another day.
Now, I am not opposed to socializing via the internet or by text. I have had great fun reconnecting with friends from my childhood, whom I may not otherwise have heard from. However, I am relearning how to do community the way God intended it to be done. By engaging others in face to face conversation, making time to help others feel they belong and feel they are special. It isn’t always easy or convenient but the benefits far outweigh my own comfort.
Al the mailman knew something that many of us have forgotten. It’s about relationships. A relationship with God and a relationship with each other. I am positively sure the only happy face Al the mailman would use is the popular sticker from the 70’s :0)
Terese Belme at 10:30 PM
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I love to study God’s word! I am blessed to teach our weekly Women’s Bible study with my best friend. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt and friend. Best of all I am a daughter of the King!
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