The early church was stronger relationally for not being able to text each other. Surprised? Actually, the more modern technology advances, the more we appear to be adversely affected relationally. In her book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, author Sherry Turkle explains why:
“We are changed as technology offers us substitutes for connecting with each other face-to-face…As we instant message, e-mail, text, and Twitter, technology redraws the boundaries between intimacy and solitude… Teenagers would rather text than talk. Adults, too, choose keyboards over the human voice.”
Those, like Turkle, who are studying this stuff are trying to get our attention and help us understanding that though there are benefits to technology, the iPhone is no substitute for personal interaction. The keyboard was never meant to replace time spent with each other face-to-face. Peter describes the rich relational experience that is to characterize life in the local church when he writes:
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” 1 Peter 3:8
This is the intended experience of those in the church and this is what each Christian is to contribute to the church. Peter’s desire for the church can only happen when we are together, face-to-face. All five of the virtues Peter exhorts the church to practice accent the relational nature of the church. These virtues highlight the importance of community and they are antithetical to independence and individualism. These virtues demonstrate a care and concern for others rather than a preoccupation with oneself. They express a love for the church Jesus died to create and a heart to serve the church Jesus loves.
You can’t cultivate these virtues isolated from the church.If Peter wrote a book today based on this verse it might be titled, Why We Expect More from the Church and Less from Technology. Peter’s vision for the church is that our relationships would grow face-to-face, not by text.
This post is based on a sermon I preached at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville entitled, “Face to Face.”