I'm currently reading two Christian books which although seem quite different, are actually sharing some similarities in their content and both discuss this topic of connectedness.
The first book is 'The Church of Facebook' by Jesse Rice.The synopsis says this about the book:
This timely release explores the community-altering phenomenon of social networking sites and what it reveals about friendship, God and our own hearts. With hundreds of millions of users, social networks are changing how we form relationships, perceive others, and shape our identity. Yet at it s core, this movement reflects our need for community. Our longing for intimacy, connection and a place to belong has never been a secret, but social networking offers us a new perspective on the way we engage our community. How do these networks impact our relationships? In what ways are they shaping the way we think of ourselves? And how might this phenomenon subtly reflect a God who longs to connect with each one of us? The Church of Facebook explores these ideas and much more, offering a revealing look at the wildly popular world of online social networking.
My relationship with facebook has been a bit of a roller coaster to be honest and I'm seeing both good sides and bad sides to it. I think it's redefining friendships and creating more superficial relationships than anything has ever done before. On the other hand it is a useful tool for sharing news, staying in touch with friends who have moved away, and reconnecting with old friends. Did you know it's only been around for five years??? What did we do before facebook? How did we communicate with our friends and stay connected to them?
I'm not very far into the book (being a slow reader!!) but already it's helping me to understand some of how social networking has changed the way we do life and stay connected with one another.
The Second book I'm reading is 'Identity' by Charlotte Gambil from Abundant Life Church in Bradford.
I read this book some time ago, but this re read is giving me new insight into my relationships, my connectedness and my own security and self worth. Along with connectedness, it talks about separation, and how sometimes we have to move away from things that aren't leading us on the path God wants us to be on. Charlotte quotes Amos 3:3 'Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren't going to the same place?' and she goes on to say 'Think about who you are holding hands with because they will affect where you end up.'
In reading these books I'm being challenged about my relationships, about who I'm connected to, and why. They are helping me to value the people I have in my life in a different way and recognise that I have my own unique path which God has planned for me. As I was reading about this connectedness, I remembered the story of 'the vine and the branches' in John's gospel chapter 15. This passage talks about God being our gardener and how a branch cannot bear fruit on it's own. It goes on to say:
I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you,
you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing.
As much as I love being connected to people, I know that fundamentally, I must be connected to God.
So I'd like to throw a little challenge out there for you. Who are you connected to and why?