Does Being Glued to Technology Truly Make Us Connected?
- Cliff Young Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2014 6 Nov
In 1929, Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy had a notion everyone was connected to one another by way of five intermediaries, meaning there are only five individuals between you knowing anyone else on earth. Over the years, this concept has been tested in several different manners and has been generally accepted as truth.
It is known as the Theory of Six Degrees of Separation.
Even back in the late 1920’s, Karinthy postulated the world was getting “smaller” due to the increasing connectedness of people. Now, with the advent of technology, smart phones, Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest and other platforms at our disposal, the separation is probably less; some even think it’s down to one.
However, as much as we’re “connected” to one another, can we really say we know anyone any better? It seems like we spend more time posting our thoughts, reading other’s comments and viewing pictures of everyone’s activities, but we don’t spend quality time with each other anymore.
I have been convicted of this with my friends and recently even more so in my relationship with Jesus.
I know him based upon his written Word, what has been documented, from the hundreds of sermons I’ve heard, and the portrayals I’ve seen on television and in movies - disconcertingly familiar to how I “know” many of the same types of things about celebrities, public officials, athletes, and everyone else in the news.
We tend to believe we know people, but in reality we really don’t appreciate who they are as people because we truly aren’t connected.
Of the number of denominational viewpoints, scores of Bible translations, arguments over important and trivial matters, discussions of his omnipotence, kindness, power, love, and compassion, one trait which seems often overlooked is Jesus’ good nature.
Consider those people you like to be around. Who will you go out of your way to see or be with? What qualities do they have? Are they good-natured and have a sense of humor, or are they angry, bitter, selfish, self-centered and hard to get along with?
This may be a small and unimportant matter to most, and it probably is in the big picture of Bible doctrine and salvation, but on my own personal journey to be more Christ-like, I have found this is an area I can improve upon.
Why was everyone, from young to old, peasant to royalty, slave to landowner, and Jew to Gentile, attracted to Jesus?
Predominantly because he was Lord and Savior, they wanted a miracle, or they were so captivated by his teaching, but I have to believe part of the reason people spent countless hours with him and dropped everything to follow him was because of his infectious personality. There had to be some pleasure from being in his presence.
Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd…And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out (Mark 6:45, 47-49).
When Jesus sent his disciples away, he knew they would struggle to get across the sea that night. He knew he would catch up to them on foot and “he meant to pass by them.”
Imagine yourself walking up to a boatload of your friends after hours of struggling to row themselves across an angry sea. You would probably have a smile or a smirk on your face, maybe nod or wink in their direction, or even make a quip as you passed them by.
Jesus had to have had some similar response or dialogue as he climbed into their boat.
Seven of Jesus’ disciples had gone fishing one night, “that night they caught nothing….Jesus stood on the shore and said to them, ‘Children, do you have any fish....Cast the net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish” (John 21:3-6).
Jesus referred to them as “children” and followed it up with what many would take offense, as if casting their nets on the other side of the boat would make a difference, but they all had to be smiling and laughing at the result as they struggled to pull in their catch.
After his crucifixion, Jesus appeared to a couple of men on the road to Emmaus and knowingly asked why they were sad as if to toy with their emotions. After spending some time with them, Jesus disclosed his identity and immediately vanished (Luke 24).
These two must have told and retold this story over and over with excitement until the day they died.
Jesus came to give us LIFE and with the life he gives comes joy.
Oftentimes we don’t take the time to appreciate the life we have nor share it with others because we’re too busy, we take ourselves too seriously, we get upset over meaningless things, we demand everything to go our way and we get involved into things we shouldn’t.
We text instead of call, we post our activities instead of inviting others to be a part of them and we read about each other instead of spending time together.
Maybe non-believers aren’t attracted to Jesus because they see us as no different as anyone else.
I can’t imagine Jesus just posting his sermons on a website, texting parables to his disciples, doing something else while sharing a meal, walking around with headphones on, or watching some video or playing Manna Crush on his tablet all day.
He took time to spend with others and was someone people enjoyed being around.
Those are the characteristics which connect us to one another in a deeper way.
Let’s not let technology’s aura of connectedness deceive us into thinking we are more connected than we are, instead of investing personally into people’s lives.
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the bi-weekly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Find him on facebook and twitter.
Publication date: November 6, 2014