I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with Facebook. It’s no substitute for real life (although some people live on Facebook like it IS their real life) and any relating on Facebook is shallow and fleeting. Deep relationships take face time and nurturing. It’s not going to happen on Facebook.
Nevertheless, it’s fun to connect with friends, acquaintances, business associates and distant relatives from every stage of my life, going all the way back to childhood.
Some live in far-flung places like Germany, England, Niger, Kenya, Bahrain, India, Japan, Guatemala and all across the U.S. I would never be able to keep in touch with most of them without social networking. It’s a way of learning a little about what matters to them, how they’ve chosen to live and with whom, what they believe and what they’re now doing with their lives.
One of the things I especially like about Facebook is how it’s a lot like the Bible, with a few important caveats. Both are written by a bunch of different authors and both cover every topic imaginable. Both sometimes seem disjointed and messy. But, hey, life is disjointed and messy.
I mentioned the similarity to a couple of friends of mine who are not Christ-followers and they didn’t see the connection. They think Facebook is entertaining, while the Bible is boring and full of rules, with nothing to say to them. To which I reply, “Are you kidding me? Have you read the book? It’s ‘Survivor,’ ‘Scandal,’ ‘Dr. Phil,’ the History channel, the Discovery channel, and ‘World News Tonight’ rolled into one.” (Okay, so maybe there’s no parallel to “Ice Road Truckers.”)
The Bible covers births, deaths, divorces, inspirational stories, job wins and losses, how-to lessons for life, speech training, wars, homosexuality, politics, murder, rape, intrigue, judgmental people, grace-filled people, rich and poor, glass half empty people and glass half full people, the bold visionaries and the crazies. In other words, the same kind of things we find so intriguing when posted on our Facebook wall!
Of course, there are differences between Facebook and the Bible. There’s a Big Picture to the Bible. Unlike Facebook’s helter-skelter content, the Bible has a point. It’s God’s story of humankind–from the moment God called us into existence until the day Jesus returns to finally reclaim his world and those who love him.
And, like every good story, it has fleshed-out characters, a plot that pulls you in, conflict, heartache, a change agent (Jesus), the characters are given the power to choose, there’s a chance of redemption and transformation and, finally, a dramatic denouement.
Unlike Facebook, however, don’t expect it to make sense if you drop in on the middle of the story for a quick sound bite. God’s story takes a lifetime to fully appreciate. Did you ever drop in on page 200 of War and Peace or Moby Dick and find yourself mesmerized by the story? Did it make sense? Of course not. The Bible isn’t snack food. It’s a banquet. It takes time to fully appreciate it.
Then there’s the fact that the Bible was written by people commissioned by the Holy Spirit, which means you can trust that it’s all true. That makes it a lot different from Facebook.
And, finally, the Bible was written for us…all of us. God had us in mind on every page. It’s why he wrote the story in the first place. Facebook, on the other hand, is all about the people who post–what matters to them, how they want to be seen and what they feel is true.
Facebook is fun but, in the end, it’s more like postcards from a friend. But when it comes to impact on my life and a lasting take-away, I’ll stick to the Bible. Besides, God accepts all “friend” requests.