I discovered the world of Facebook yesterday. It is a social networking site that college kids have known about for a while. It's pretty cool actually. They set you up with a home page and give you some areas to write about yourself, to share pictures and to start networking with high school, college and professional friends.
So last night I began sending out "friend invites" to those who were already on the network. I then set up my page and included a few family photos and then added a photo album of pictures from our mission trip.
I really am interested in setting up three different networks. I began by looking for my high school classmates and friends. That is where it all started. Facebook was set up for this to begin with. At the "all class reunion" I was looking for addresses and emails of lost classmates and someone suggested joining Facebook. It's free so I did. Then I began seeing the wider application for ministry.
Next I started looking for folks from church. This seemed like one more neat way to connect with church members. I found several that are scattered across the country. Guess what? Most are under forty. Maybe there is something we need to think about in the church if we want to connect to the younger generation.
Finally, since two of my kids are scattered around the world, I decided it would be cool to have a network to reach out to family and family friends.
Now I know I made it sound like it is three distinct places. It is not. It is like the nexus of my worlds. Everything comes together right at my Facebook page. I have already have forged links to my blog and the church web page. I will do even more in the coming days.
As I was putting this together it made me think about the many worlds that all of us live in. In the olden days we used to talk about wearing many hats. Today it has expanded to worlds. The truth is that we try to separate them so we can manage them. We put up imaginary partitions so one world doesn't interfere with the next. In each world we might even be known a little differently. That is not a problem unless our worlds begin to collide.
I think that is why so many people experience a disconnect between their faith and the rest of their life. They try to keep that part of who they are separate from work, friendships and sometimes even family. As a result they are not quite sure who they are in any of their worlds.
The solution is to bring all the worlds together and let your faith be front and center. That doesn't mean pushing your religion on others. It simply means letting God shine through you. It means letting people know that attending worship is something you do. It means that when you make a choice, you allow your faith to influence you. It means sharing your story with your friends when it is appropriate.
There is a risk to living like this. Some people may deny allowing you to be part of their network. The truth is that it may not be as big of a loss as you fear. You may find that you have better, more loving and faithful friends as a result. That will brighten anybody's world.