For readers and followers of this blog, for this series only if you wish to reblog An Inconvenient God in individual chapters or in its entirety, I am okay with this. I had foreseen this as being a book, but when I reached the end, I had said all there was for me to say and it is clearly not enough for a book.
At different points in each chapter I ask questions. I do not ask them in search of answers for myself because I already know where I stand. I ask them as catalyst for the reader to consider.
Chapter Nine – Even Jesus Had His Posse
Had Jesus been a loner, he could have still very well have travelled around the eastern Mediterranean working his wonders and preaching the gospel. It would have made making sleeping and eating arrangements easier only requiring accommodations for one instead of thirteen; He could have made His way through crowds easier without having to worry about getting separated from anyone; and there would have been no one close to betray or deny Him. All in all, His life would have been so much more efficient and convenient without the twelve others to consider. However, Jesus had his posse of twelve disciples with him.
- Why would someone take on the burden of a posse or crew when they could travel through life a lot easier without them?
Humans are social animals. We can communicate face to face better than any other way. Part of the communication is the facial expressions, another is the intonation, and there is also the eye contact to see the intent of the communicator. When we avoid social environments we lose the ability of effective communication.
As social animals, we need people around us with common morals and goals to support each other. Without this support network, we tend to look only inward for support and service, not outward. There was a long time in history before some of the latest technology that the posse in the form of families, friends, neighborhoods, villages, cities, states, and countries was quite evident and successful at protecting and serving the individuals within the sets.
Today, with the invention of the internet comes social networking and cell phones bring us texting. These two “advancements” have done more damage to the ability of people to interact with others than any others I can think of. Instead of speaking with each other where even though telephonically and we cannot see each other’s faces, we can still hear inflection and intonation to understand not only the words but also the spirit of which the words are spoken, we can only see the words and acronyms causing us to frequently misinterpret the spirit of the message being sent.
I recently was involved in a discussion with another person hundreds of miles away. The other person for whatever reason is one of those who subscribes to the idea that texting is more convenient than speaking on the phone. At one point in the conversation I suggested that he consider looking inward to find whatever was bothering him than looking outward for a scapegoat which would give him an internal locus of control of the situation. I typed it with no malice of any kind but that is not the way he took the message which he then escalated by getting agitated and sending a message that might best be never sent. I then called him and again calmly expressed my point of view. His reply was “Well I’m glad you calmed down.” I was never angry or agitated in the first place, but his state of mind at the time he read what I wrote induced him to be offended by a non-offensive suggestion.
There are times that I have fallen victim to the same type of situation and have had to catch myself before replying in a less than Christian way. I force myself to re-read the post several times and if there is doubt about the intent of the writer, I now refuse to reply with a snarky answer as a matter of etiquette.
When messages are sent via text, public forum or social networking site, the way the message is received is totally dependent upon the receivers state of mind. That same message said face to face or on the telephone is more likely to be received in the same way as it was meant to be sent and not be susceptible to misinterpretation.
If we spend more time interacting socially with those around us, our social skills increase versus interaction hindered by computers and cell phones decrease social skills. This statement is backed by a report out of Japan in 2013 that reported that many teenagers are so dependent upon electronic socialization that they are incapable of interacting with others. They spend most of their day alone in their rooms and are committing suicide due to the fear of having to go into the outside world.
Another example to show the importance of social interaction can be seen in the prison system. Although there are not many if any examples of good societal behaviors in the prison system, those sentenced to solitary confinement for long periods of time often lose the ability to interact with others in acceptable behavior all together while in that confinement. Many who have been in solitary for long periods become permanently incapable of acceptable social behavior.
Whereas those incarcerated are involuntarily subjected to social divestment, technology advertised as a benefit can lead to voluntary social divestment which then can digress to societal failure.
- Is social networking a problem as you see it?
- Is the convenience of texting worth the loss of personal connection?
- What message are you sending if you are not willing to have a vocal conversation with friends and family because texting is easier?
- Is texting a parent rude in your view?
- Is your spouse texting you instead of calling beneficial in maintaining a strong marriage in your view?
- Is distancing ourselves from each other by limiting communication to written media a burden on societal ties?