Sunday, September 27, 2009
Which Protocol Would Jesus Use?
Scribbled by Presbyter
In network programming, two important acronyms are UDP (“User Datagram Protocol”) and TCP (“Transmission Control Protocol”). Using the latter protocol, there is an actual connection between two parties. The former protocol can be thought of as involving a “broadcast”, where one party simply tosses some information out there for the benefit of anyone who happens to be listening, but not immediately knowing if anyone actually “gets the message”.
Since this is a blog post, it may be a funny place to ask this question, but isn’t blogging mostly UDP, instead of TCP? How much of the time are we just expressing ourselves, instead of really trying to communicate with some other particular person? I think of my own posts when I ask this, and the question seems particularly urgent here in a Christian blog: “... love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34) That has to be done one-on-one. Does blogging help with this?
A related area where this question comes up is that of social networking tools like Facebook. How much of this is just “broadcast”, but with no “connection”? Can real Christian Fellowship (Acts 2:42) be cultivated like this, when, instead of sharing our lives with other particular saints, we toss the details out there for them all at once?
An area in the church where we often see these issues come up is in the exercise of the ministry: Pastors sometimes see themselves as called to preach in such an urgent sense that they have little time left over for the network of personal one-on-one relationships that are so important in shepherding God’s flock. Elders too can get so wrapped up in governing the church, that they lose touch with its members. I recall being told once at an elder’s retreat that, when we really needed to be able to influence a member of our church, our efforts wouldn’t amount to much if we hadn’t been frequently in his home. How easy it can be to fall into the trap of thinking of “the flock”, instead of thinking as our Lord does, who knows each one of His sheep by name. (John 10:3)
So here it is, as the subversive post of the day: Do we need less time on blogs and social networking tools, and more time sitting down with one another in coffee shops and homes, as brothers and sisters in the Lord? Short of that, how do we get more “connection” back into these “broadcast” media (more TCP and less UDP)?