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April 24, 2012

Connecting in sips

There was a very interesting article in the Sunday New York times recently (“The Flight from Conversation” by Sherry Turkle, who is a psychologist and professor at M.I.T. and the author, most recently, of “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other.”).  Here is a quote I found compelling:

 

We are tempted to think that our little “sips” of online connection add up to a big gulp of real conversation. But they don’t. E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, all of these have their places — in politics, commerce, romance and friendship. But no matter how valuable, they do not substitute for conversation.

 

Connecting in sips may work for gathering discrete bits of information or for saying, “I am thinking about you.” Or even for saying, “I love you.” But connecting in sips doesn’t work as well when it comes to understanding and knowing one another. In conversation we tend to one another. (The word itself is kinetic; it’s derived from words that mean to move, together.) We can attend to tone and nuance. In conversation, we are called upon to see things from another’s point of view.

 

Her comment about conversation being where we tend to one another connected for me on my thoughts about evangelism for this blog.  She goes on to say that face to face conversation unfolds slowly.  Well, relationship does as well.  And evangelism too.  When it grows out of authentic relationship, rooted in deep conversation, evangelism becomes a powerful way to help God be alive for others.

 

So, as Christians and Christian communities, we can use all the technology available to stay engaged with our world and those in it.  But we can also offer places and spaces where we put down the gadgets and as Turkle says we ‘look up, look at one another, and start the conversation.’

 

Link to this article:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/opinion/sunday/the-flight-from-conversation.html


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