Monday, September 19, 2011

Can We "Virtualize" Community?

There is a whimsical joy I get from just trying to imagine what these three penguins were grooving to at the time somebody snapped this picture.  These three are enjoying some community time...time together, face to face.

The church is at its best when we are in community.  I was reminded of that as I spoke to a member of my congregation.  He's twenty-three years younger than me and is very close to being a "digital native."  The kinds of electronic devices he grew up with were much different than the ones I grew up using.  When soul singer Celo Green croons the line, "She's an X-box, but I'm more Atari," I realize just how old I'm getting.  I was actually living before the Atari video game was available.

I called this younger member on the phone.  Most of the time, though, we keep up with each other on Face Book.  I told this younger member I want to reach out to him and start trying to build community with he and his peers.  I let him know that I would leave the church grounds to make a meeting time happen.

I am interested in knowing more about what the term "community" even means to another generation of adults.  I saw a definition by Dr. Ruth Tucker that interested me even though she's at least twenty years older than I am now.  She wrote that when she thinks of "community"......
It relates to my childhood memories and to my adult life, especially in relation to the church and workplace.  Whatever the word means, I know I have rarely experienced it in adult life with the exception of my marriage to John, which is a wonderful combination of community and intimacy.
I still remember discovering the world of blogging and bloggers and the virtual community we all share.  I dropped out of this community for awhile but now I want to get back in.  I have begun to study answers about how to write and maintain a great blog but I find myself coming back to this writing task with more questions than answers. (I understand that blogs that give 'tips' are especially popular)  I'm trying to find that elusive balance between the virtual world and the kind of "community" I can share with other people face to face.  Seeing the joy of those penguins was just the start of coming back to blogging for me.  I'm hoping that we'll share our tips, our reflections, our hopes and dreams as we reach out to each other in this awesome task known as blogging.  In the meantime, I'd love to know whether you feel anywhere near as satisfied in the virtual world of Face Book, Twitter, etc versus places like the church, or in a relationship where your community requires you to show up and spend some "face time" with other folks.