...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dr. Oz is not my doctor

Nor do I find community in the blink of an eye or a snap of my finger. For that matter, a click wishing a happy birthday is nice, but not very enduring. Jesus' blessings are not to "the friended" or the "liked this." (Matt. 5: 3-12)

I'm thinking about how the Amish, are, according to Weird Al, " just technologically impaired," but in a good way. The telephone makes my convenience more important than the act of face to face community. In the heyday of 1980's televangelism, an ad for the Episcopal church read, "With all due respect to TV Evangelism, have you ever seen a Sony that could give Holy Communion?"

Like pretending Dr. Oz is "my doctor" by watching his program, "community" has become the least common denominator where the road of least resistance is encouraged, and one size fits all. Telling me I have "notifications" is not going to change the fact that I lack motivation in the area of extending real friendship love to others, even those whom God has already placed in my life. God hopes more of me than to sporadically comment on, or "like" what he's doing, and being the church to each other is NOT just a viral finger tap away.

The bad connections I suffer from are not technological, but personal and social. They are a result of attitudes and behaviors we have chosen, me included. Words wound or bless on the internet -or anywhere. Inviting a friend into your life probably requires more of yourself and is more an act of evangelism than offering a quick invitation to church.

The church syndrome is that we don't even think we need to make space for new friends and new people. We assume we can stack people up like our FB friends. But to really make room, we would have to let go of the stuff that clutters our lives- both the unhealthy and at times, what we think is good.(John 15:1-2)

The body of Christ, the living and breathing witness of Jesus and Spirit, teaches me that the two or three gathered is irreplaceable and foundational to community. The 525 or 25,000 "friends" you might accumulate on your free facebook account? Like watching Dr. Oz telling you the obvious, you get what you pay for.

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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