The Dangers of a Facebook “Friend”

Weekend Musings

The following are excerpted from the book The Wisdom of Stability, by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. All of them are about community. Bold topic headlines and bracketed [ ] comments are my own.

On Facebook “Friends”

I get to choose who I want to ‘friend’ and whose friendship requests I respond to. We gather around our common interests, share the stuff we want others to know, and log off when we feel like it. In many ways what we have is a connection without obligations. But intimacy without commitment is what our society has traditionally called ‘infidelity.'” (p. 92)

On the Value of a Sustained Community

If we are honest about life in human community, we must admit that people closest to us are not only our connection points in a support system that we depend on for our very lives. They are that, for sure, but they are also mirrors who reflect the hidden shadows of our souls.” (p. 94)

Just as stability depend on our acknowledging our limits and our need for other people, it also demands of us a willingness to engage the neighbor who most annoys us. Establishing roots of love means coming to terms with the boundaries of our drip line and plugging into the root system that extends beneath the surface, giving life to an organic community of mutual dependence.  But it also means bumping up against other people and weathering the storms that will inevitably come. The shape of every tree, both above and below the ground, is determined by the conditions in which it grows. (p. 96)

On the Difficulty in Sustaining Authentic Community

In human community, growth in love does not just happen. Even if we stay in a place [a church, a school, a neighborhood], our impulse is to build walls to protect ourselves from the pain of seeing our own neediness in someone else’s brokenness. … A stable life within the root system of real community depends upon this practice of forgiveness.” (p. 97)

Living real relationship with our neighbors, we will inevitably butt heads. If we live close enough that we see through our masks and know one another as we are, my ambitions will at some point conflict with yours.” (p. 97)


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