Archive for May 11th, 2012

May 11, 2012

On Connection, Conversation and Community

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: James 3:17
Full Text: Isaiah 9:8-10:4; James 3

Connection | In the New York Times, professor Sherry Turkle recently suggested that modern technology is creating a culture that’s satisfied with “the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship” [1]. She wrote, “Human relationships are rich; they’re messy and demanding. We have learned the habit of cleaning them up with technology. And the move from conversation to connection is part of this. But it’s a process in which we shortchange ourselves. Worse, it seems that over time we stop caring.” After speaking with a teenager who’d rather talk about dating with someone online than with his dad and an elderly woman who was comforted by talking with a robot about the loss of her child, Turkle said, “We have confused conversation with connection … Have we so lost confidence that we will be there for one another?”

Community | As we have seen this week, God is preparing us for glory, where all of our “outlandish expectations” will be met in the fullness of His holy presence [2]. Yet He is not preparing us to go alone; He is preparing us as a people, the church. In James, we see that religion is not a private matter. Our faith works itself out in how we treat one another [3]. How can we know what attitudes of the heart are from God? James writes, “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” [4].

Conversation | Yes, our relationships will be messy and demanding. We will hurt one another and we will be hurt by one another – intentionally and unintentionally. When that inevitably happens, however, we have a choice – either say, “I am hurt; I need to update my status and keep away from others,” or, “I am hurt; I need to forgive and pursue the peace of God that seeks unity.” Let us not be too busy with communication that we don’t have time for conversation and community for, as Turkle said, “It is often in unedited moments, moments in which we hesitate and stutter and go silent, that we reveal ourselves to one another.”

Prayer | Lord, We long for authentic community that is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. Let us be messy and forgiving. Let us put the love and glory of Christ on display in our lives. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] Sherry Turkle. “The Flight from Conversation.” The New York Times. 21 April 2012.  |  [2] See 843 Acres. On Outlandish Expectations and Strong Senses of Entitlement (7 May 2012). On Coming Into the Presence of the Lord (8 May 2012). On Being Made Durable for Living and Suited for Glory (9 May 2012). On the Difference Between Demon Belief and Christian Belief (10 May 2012).  |  [3] e.g., see James 3:10 (James writes that we should not speak ill to or about one another), James 3:16 (have selfish ambition or bitter jealousy in our hearts). See also Dever, Mark; John MacArthur (2005-11-30). The Message of the New Testament: Promises Kept (p. 435). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition. “The Message of James: A Faith that Works (Myth #3: Religion Is a Private Matter.”)  |  [4] James 3:17 ESV

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