Yesterday somebody shared a silver lining he experienced in his pandemic quarantine. The losses he felt created a deeper appreciation for the things lost. He now enjoys getting out for a cup of coffee, meeting up with friends, connecting with co-workers even more. He said, “Digital connection bridged a gap but there is no replacing the real thing.”
This struck me because earlier in the day I started to read the book Analog Church: Why We Need Real People, Places, and Things in the Digital Age. The author, Jay Kim, expresses the idea better than I could: “True human connection is fueled by empathy – the God-given ability to step into another’s shoes and open ourselves to another’s story, not to compare and contrast, but to be overwhelmed by compassion to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn’ (Romans 12:15). This requires patience, depth, and the risk of stepping into real community with real people and their real lives in real time and in real space.”
“At their best, social media and other digital spaces can be wonderful initiating spaces that lead to true human connection, but they can never become home for those connections. They’ll always fall short and leave us wanting. When I Facetime with my wife and kids (our digital gathering space when I’m away) it’s a wonderful benefit of technology – but ultimately it only makes me eager to get home and give them real hugs. That’s digital at its best – increasing our appetite for the real thing.”
My prayer for 2021 is that we will all grow in our appetite for real connection, with real people, in their real lives, in real time, and in real space. Real church.
Pastor of Teaching & Leadership