The Brave New Facebook World

The Brave New Facebook World image

It is astonishing to think that, in less than 10 years, there are over 1 billion users of Facebook. This represents 1 in 7 people in the world. I am one of the many who enjoys the ‘interaction’ that Facebook allows. It is not for deep conversation, but I now have many shallow connections with people I would otherwise have no contact with. Letting people know about events and one’s own significant moments is facilitated. There are many benefits.

However, and particularly in more recent times, I have become more acutely aware of the dangers.

Philippians talks about being ‘blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world’ (Phil 2:15, HCSB). A significant part of the motivation is seeing people come to know Jesus, and this is one place where the process is initiated purely through the quality of someone’s life.

What I found fascinating is that the particular method of being pure and blameless is to ‘do everything without grumbling and arguing ….’ (Phil 2:14, HCSB). Out of all of the areas that could have been highlighted, these are chosen.

This makes me return to Facebook.  For, at least in my observation (perhaps it is just my particular ‘friends’), whereas Facebook may have begun as a social connector, it is now increasingly being used to grumble. It may be about politicians, friends, events or something else. The point remains the same – Facebook, and other social media, can become a grumblefest.

Why am I talking about this in a post about ministry thinking? Because Philippians envisages and exhorts that one way in which people are converted is as Christians ‘shine like stars’ in a crooked and depraved world. Ephesians says to speak both truthfully and ‘only what is good for the building up of someone in need’ (Ephesians 4:25,29).

Sometimes, Facebook posts from Christians seem more like they come from a crooked and depraved world than hearts that desire to shine like stars in world, so that others would know Jesus.

The challenge: how are you going on Facebook?




Feature photo: Max_B

The Rev Raj Gupta is the senior minister of Toongabbie Anglican Church, member of Standing Committee, and Mission Area Leader of the Parramatta Mission Area. He is also a partner with the 'Exploring Effective Ministry under God' team, and currently undertaking a Doctor of Ministry at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDs).

Comments (2)

Please sign in or register to add a comment.

  • Robert Denham
    March 27, 13 - 1:45pm
    "Facebook may have begun as a social connector, it is now increasingly being used to grumble."
    Change your friends, or better still encourage them by your non-grumbling posts.

    I find a quick "really?" in the public area, followed by a private message explaining more of my concern for what has been posted is a marvellous tool for moderating the posts of friends, especially from church.
  • Stephen Davis
    March 29, 13 - 12:09pm
    It would seem to me that the church is increasingly frowning upon anyone among its ranks who dares to post a well thought out and constructively critical comment. There is a time to "grumble" as you call it Raj, I am almost certain you are referring to the current wave of criticism directed at the current government when you mention politicians above, in light of how the country is being run at the moment then I have no problem whatsoever with people standing up and speaking out, I agree that grumbling for the sake of it is ungodly and should be put aside by Christians but there is a time and a place to speak up about things and Facebook can be used quite effectively for the purpose.