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I was chatting with a woman during the basketball playoffs. She told me she had watched the big game the night before. Then she laughed. Her whole family had watched that game the night before, but each one was in a different room, watching on their own TV. Five people, five televisions, one house, one game.
Living and Growing: To LOL or not to LOL? 032711 NEIGHBORS 9 FOR THE JUNEAU EMPIRE I was chatting with a woman during the basketball playoffs. She told me she had watched the big game the night before. Then she laughed. Her whole family had watched that game the night before, but each one was in a different room, watching on their own TV. Five people, five televisions, one house, one game.
Sunday, March 27, 2011

Story last updated at 3/26/2011 - 9:39 pm

Living and Growing: To LOL or not to LOL?
That is the question

I was chatting with a woman during the basketball playoffs. She told me she had watched the big game the night before. Then she laughed. Her whole family had watched that game the night before, but each one was in a different room, watching on their own TV. Five people, five televisions, one house, one game.

I was scanning my Facebook page. A friend posted that her whole family was in the same room, but she was on her laptop, her husband was tapping away on his iPad, and the kids were busy with their own video games. Another friend commented, saying she had just sent a text to her husband, asking what he wanted for dinner, even though he was in the same room.

I enjoy watching sports on television. Since we don’t have cable, I go to the Island Pub to catch a game. I think Facebook is great; it has connected me to a delightful mix of old and new friends. I am glad for text conversations with my son, who lives in another state.

Technology is a gift that can bring us together. It can deepen and sustain relationships. I started watching sports because it was a way of hanging out with my dad. I joined Facebook because I’ve lived in several states, and had lost touch with some folks across the various moves. I text my son because it’s an easy way to let him know I’m thinking about him, in the moment.

However, technology also allows us to become more isolated, and frankly, more self-centered. Learning to negotiate what to watch on the shared, family TV is important. Playing I Spy on boring family vacation drives develops our sense of connection and play more than individual DVD players ever will. Calling out across the room to see what your husband would like for dinner might end up in a delightful conversation about the relative merits of the Sandpiper or McDonald’s.

Looking at each other, talking, playing, negotiating — learning to live with others — these things matter deeply, not only for our families and community, but also for our faith communities. The conversation has become more and more about faith consumers, shopping for a church, looking to see which congregation has the most attractive package on offer. Technology and church work best when they do what they were intended to do: Draw people together to experience something greater than their individual selves.

We’ve seen recently how Facebook and Twitter created a community in and beyond Egypt, in the midst of protest and rebellion. Church can do the same. Church does do the same. It brings together people who, under ordinary, daily circumstances, might never meet, and connects them not only to each other, but to people of faith across geography, across denominations, across time — in the midst of sorrow, joy, and change, in times of struggle and times of triumph.

See how technology and social networking overlaps. Friend a church. Go to the next level. It’s not 2 L8!

• Reverend Sue Bahleda is pastor at Resurrection Lutheran Church. Find out more at www.rlcjuneau.com.