looking at myspace

i like myspace, i have one and so does the community of faith i serve. i have found it to be a great place to meet people and extend connections. i love all the fuss about myspace, and all the hype some modern christian leaders are trying to bring out. while i am certain they believe they are doing good, i wonder if they realize how disconnected they sound, how out of touch with culture they sound, how distant they seem from my life, and how off they seem from what is happening. i wonder if they even care they sound as they do.

while i find the conversation interesting, i am not sure i get all the negative hype about myspace and the "fall of the human race" because of the community that is forming on places like myspace. it seems that if you listen to some, myspace is filled with porn, weird language, sex freaks and child molesters. while i will not doubt that some of that takes place on myspace, the last five cases of child molestation i heard about centered on teachers and elementary students. so, given that, i suggest we close all public schools. then there are all the cases of priests, pastor, minister and such using children as sex toys, looks like we need to close all churches - do you see how silly the argument is to close places like myspace because a few people are sick and twisted. people are sick and twisted all over the place, do we close everything?

why are they so against it and things like it? why are they so driven to "close" [as if they could] opportunities to build community such as myspace? over the past few weeks i have read and heard modern church leaders suggest that the church create a "christian myspace" and "compete" with myspace head on. i think that is the funniest thing i had ever heard. they could never do it; they could never build a "christian myspace" even if they wanted to - and here is why:

it would be too rule structured:
any christian community site i know of has never matched the growth and depth of places like myspace, blogger [got them too], facebook, xanga, bebo, friendster, linkedin [i have one of these too], or orkut. mainly because they would never allow community to form. they would only allow you in if you followed some very strick guidelines that would never allow for growth or the exchange of ideas. they would limit the creative side, and structure it to be more like a church and less like a community. in reality, most christians have no idea how to live in a community like myspace - they see it as a place to make converts and preach; not a place to make friends.

it would not attract those outside the club:
because it would be so controlled, it would attract very little from outside the church [and i think not much from within the church either]. it would be more of a "club" then a community. it would have very little appeal to those looking to make friends, because people who were "outside the community" would see it as a way of "beating people to jesus." think of it this way, not many people i know are looking for a community where you get to share your favorite bible verse and debate the issue of hymns or no hymns.

it would be moderated and imposing:
with the idea of being "beat into jesus" any myspace style christian community would be very imposing and heavily moderated [causing a natural anti-growth reality]. if anyone tried to "go outside the box" they would be asked to leave - and even if that was by other members of the club, there is a very imposing reality to that. people would be "removed" for questioning standard evangelical doctrine and for asking questions that can be seen as "wrong." the idea of "being free in christ" would mean "freedom" as long as you towed the mark.

i can speak for myself, but i know i have no desire to live in a "christian myspace" like that. what we need to do is simply get involved in the cultures that are forming around us and make friends. truly live past the boundaries of the couch and connect with the people who are striving to make friends. think of it this way, with over 46 million people connected to one of the online communities, people are desiring community. you see, while most churches are losing people, places like myspace and facebook grew [in one year] from 4 million, to 38 million, they are doing something right.

with the idea that christians have no idea how to live in a place like myspace. they are trying hard to figure out how we "minister" to them and "preach" to them and not enough time just living in the space and getting to know people.

picture this, a "christian myspace"- a light blue page with spinning cross, flying doves, twisting fish and the standard jesus picture smack in the middle of the page; and as it loads a "carman" wrap [sorry, i just can't use the word "rap" or "hip hop" in dealing with a old white guy from new jersey] - and then ask the skate, or goth kid down the street to join and create a profile.

tags: , , , , , ,


Makeesha said...

I just think myspace is visually unattractive, way too busy and I'm not into social blogging. There are lots of people like me who don't have any moral objection to it, just a personal one :) I agree with many of your points about any kind of alternative. Oh, and we went to Carman's church in Los Angeles, really neat guy :)

Makeesha said...

edit that: We went to the church Carman also attended...that sounded like it was "his" church in the sense that he planted it or something.

Rich said...

speaking of disconnected, how disconnected are you??? ;-)


They already got one!!!

john o'keefe said...

and there in lies my reality :) i am more connected to needs of the one we are to reach, then the 99 already reached :)

pax bro :D

John Thomas said...

I think you nailed it when you implied that the church differentiates between "ministering to" people and building relationships with people.

Very little (if any) real ministry (i.e. touching someone's life in a meaningful way) happens outside of relationship.

- John

christianmyspace said...

Personally, I am greatly offended by soft porn adverts. I understand that many people do not mind such advertisements, but it is sad when Christians join the secular world and their silence of such subtle activities as advertisements speaks volumes to an unsaved world.

I am thankful for these so called Christian MySpace alternatives like Ditty Talk www.dittytalk.com or the other as they actually weed out the trash that should be weeded out.

Again, just my opinion, but I cannot personally handle the advertisements alone.