I believe, after extensive observation and, yes, personal experience, I have determined that we have become a society that is no longer “personal”. If you do a word search on “personal” you will find the following: Done, made, or performed in person. (Websters) That is exactly what I am talking about! In order to make life easier, more stream lined, and supposedly less busy, we have created a world of minimal personal contact. Think about it. People don’t talk face to face anymore. The day of sitting around talking about life, dreams, memories or just life in general have long gone. Conversations today consist of short text messages, Facebook messages or emails. No face to face. No attention to intonation, facial expressions or body language. There are a lot of conversations going on, but no in depth, heart wrenching, meaningful conversations with face to face personal contact. We spend hours reading emails, or reading Facebook pages or even Myspace pages. I know, I am guilty.
The other day my daughter was telling me about a conversation she had with someone, while we were riding in the car. I listened as she said, “I said”, then “he said”, then “she said”, so I asked…”When were you guys together talking about this….” I was curous because of the animated conversation she was narrating. She looked at me with a puzzled look, “Mom, we were texting.” So I asked her “How did you know they meant it that way.” Silence. “Umm, because that is what they texted me.” I rode along thinking, do these kids ever really talk to each other in person anymore? Then I got my cell phone bill and saw my answer, she had over 6,500 text messages for the month. There was my answer! Thank goodness for unlimited texting!
But I digress. The point of this ranting was triggered by a book I am reading by David Platt entitled “Radical”. According to David, and Jesus of course, is that we, as Christians, have one job, just one, to GO and make disciples of the nations! How, you might ask? By relationship building. By sitting with people and talking. Hearing their experiences, their hurts, their dreams, their current situations, everything. But I was struck with this thought as I read his book. This world doesn’t talk anymore! We don’t sit together and just talk anymore! We text, we facebook, we email! No face to face long conversations. So when the question of “how” seems profoundly hard to answer, there is a reason for that! We don’t really know how anymore! It’s progress! I recently took my 16 year old to Orlando to see her best friend, and we went to Disney World. We got on the familiar ride “Carousel of Progress”. As we observed the progression of the technologies of the last 100 years, I realized that the family became less connected. More and more distractions were introduced each decade. I am not saying these things that make life easier are wrong. But it is wrong that we have filled the “extra” time we now have because it doesn’t take as long to do daily chores, with busy-ness. We fill our time with other distractions, which if we are truly honest, are selfish indulgences: movies, sports, internet, and so on. We have so filled every moment that we, Christians, don’t have time to make disciples by investing in people. In fact, I don’t know that we even have a clue how to do it. It’s intimidating, overwhelming even. The thought of trying to start a conversation with someone, or inviting someone over sends us into a state of anxiousness! I’m afraid that we have created a generation who do not understand the art of sitting with people and talking, watching their faces as they open their hearts, watch their body language as they become open about their dreams and their fears.
I fear it has become incredibly easier to go on “mission trips” to faraway places for short term “discipleship making” than to commit to a steady, ongoing, slow process of building a relationship with those in our community through face to face conversation and personal investment!
I confess that I, too, have fallen prey to this worldy fast paced lifestyle. But no longer! I pray God makes me bold and courageous to engage people in face to face conversation, to listen to their hearts as they open up and share, and that God will give me the words to share with them the truth of Jesus Christ! I challenge EVERYONE who reads this to 1. Read “Radical” by David Platt and 2. To start talking AND start listening. Texting, facebook messaging and email do not count as personal contact!!! I pray that we all not allow ourselves to become so impersonal, but become personal with out relationships and to fulfill our “job” of making disciples of the nations!