Will You Be My Facebook Friend? Social Media and the Gospel by Tim Chester
Most of us can see easily how social media can be beneficial. It offers inexpensive and often free ways to communicate with our families and friends, businesses, and people of like interests. It offers up a world filled with information and entertainment. But besides all its advantages there are pitfalls and dangers that are sometimes so buried that most of us may not recognize them.
The first problem discussed in this booklet is the time consumed by technology. The author asks us some questions that may help us determine if we need a fix in this area, such as, “Do you find it difficult to imagine a day without technology?” or “Do you use your mobile phone during meals or keep it in the bedroom?” Do you suffer from lack of sleep because you spent too much time on Facebook?
But the amount of time we spend with social media is only a surface problem, so the author delves into the reasons why we find it so attractive. The remaining chapters help us understand why we find social media addictive, recreating our world and escaping the limitations of our physical bodies. He explains how these tendencies contrast with biblical principles and defeat God’s purpose for us. In the final chapter, Tim Chester offers us 12 guidelines for social networking.
I found this booklet to be thought provoking and helpful in leading me to scrutinize my own reasons for the way I use social networking. The author has some great insights why so many people are attracted to Twitter and Facebook. It reminded me of how my teaching colleagues and I would discuss our concerns about the effects of certain children’s programming on a child’s attention span that ultimately would affect their reasoning abilities. That was 30 years ago, and much of what we speculated on has contined to concern us. The results have even been amplified by the introduction of social media to the world. But I have to admit that the spiritual implications had eluded me until I read this booklet.
I would love to see this four-chapter booklet purchased in bulk in churches and placed on their literature racks for people to take home and read. There are some very powerful insights that would help many of us as Christ’s followers avoid being snared into creating our own self-centered cyberworlds and abandoning the world in which God has placed us to interact with our neighbors, friends and family.
I recommend this book for anyone who is using social media for any reason at all. The booklet is short and easy to read. Theology is not the topic, our lives and our Christian testimony are.
A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Cross Focused Reviews (A Service of Cross Focused Media, LLC). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
- New book: Will You Be My Facebook Friend? (timchester.wordpress.com)