Its not all bad you know.
Blogging has given me a great outlet, it has introduced me to a whole heap of people and also ideas that have helped a lot. It has been an avenue to internet resources, mult-media, the latest thinking and good books.
Facecrack….ooops…I mean Facebook…has given me access to relationships with a whole heap of people. The most valuable aspect of it is when I also have a ‘real world’ relationship with those I am interacting with online. In some notable cases it has actually really helped as I have tried to share and deepen relationships and conversations with people that although I see them ‘face to face’ we dont always get the chance to talk about spiritual matters. This has been really valuable even in the last 24 hours as I was able to articulate something concillitory which may have actually been a problem with someone who is on a faith journey.
I think the key with healthy online relationships is that they have some basis ‘offline’ as well. It may be too easy for there to be little accountability or reality undergirding the relationship if it only takes place in internet forums or blog comment lines. I am not saying this is always the case, but even those friendships I have developed with some overseas pastors, formed on the basis of mutual experiences, are relationships I have an innate desire to develop ‘offline’ as well.
While I don’t like anonymous comments on this blog, because I think if you are going to say something, take accountability for it, I do allow them, because I hope the interaction can grow to the point where it allows for a certain vulnerability.
As our society and culture is already well and truly ‘online’, Pastors, those in the relationship and influence areas, need to have an online ‘web 2’ type presence. As people work more, and have less time free, Pastors need to be available (within their own boundaries of course) to interact with people, as people today are interacting.
(This post was formulated after a discussion with my good friend, Michael Bullard)