I own an iPhone and an iPad. I routinely use a lap top and check my email 20 plus times a day. I write a weekly blog. I can quickly search the internet, text using more than two fingers, take and send pictures, make videos and laugh at the stuff on YouTube. In some circles, I might be considered “internet savvy.”
But, I am not part of any social network. I have never sent a tweet. I do not have a Facebook account. I do not communicate within any form of social media. And, I doubt that I am that much different than most folks in my age bracket.
But as of 2010, my boomer generation was outnumbered by the Generation Y crowd and 96 percent of them have joined a social network. And one out of eight of them who married last year, met via social media. According to an opinion article by Harvey Mackey in the Orange County Register (January 1, 2011), the younger crowd thinks that email is passé.
Apparently the over 500 million users of Facebook are convinced that it is an effective and meaningful way to be involved in each other’s lives. Mackay remarks that every day “more than 1.5 million pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos etc) are shared on Facebook.”
I got to thinking about all this social exchange and began to wonder if this isn’t just a modern way to fulfill the instructions Paul gave to the first century church. On four separate occasions, he encourages the believers to “greet each other with a holy kiss.” (See I Cor. 16, II Cor. 13, Rom. 16 and I Thess. 5). Peter emphasized that same sentiment in I Peter 5:14, “Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.”
Even Jesus seemed to imply that it was a necessary form of greeting when he remarked in Luke 7:45, “You did not give me a kiss, but this woman from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.”
One commentator remarked that that this “kiss of peace” was a form of social respect that was liberally used in early Christian circles. Even today in more traditional churches (particularly those from Eastern cultures) there is a great deal of social exchange that happens as friends gently peck each other with a light kiss on both checks.
Peter and Paul knew that social interaction is an important part of the Christian life. And I am convinced that you and I need to be appropriately connected with our brothers and sisters in Christ. So maybe this week, in addition to hugging a friend or grabbing a two handed hand shake or pecking someone on a cheek, all us “older folks” ought to consider the electronic equivalent and “befriend” each other!
Now all I have to do is figure out how to say “Hey, I miss seeing you. I will bet that your baby is already up and walking. Did she say ‘da da’ or ‘ma ma’ first? Can we get together this week? How about lunch at the Crab Cooker in Tustin on Friday at noon? See you there!” in 140 characters or less!
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel