I think my smartphone’s amazing because it, and the networks on which it depends, can connect me constantly with friends near and far. But I’m aware that there’s a downside. C S Lewis said that the more angelic something is, the more demonic is its potential.
On the cultural and political fronts, one expert asserts that “free-flowing information makes personal and cultural differences more salient, turning people against one another instead of bringing them together” (see article by Nicholas Carr here).
Facebook has been proved to make “us unhappy and causing people who suffer ‘Facebook envy’ to be particularly depressed” (see Independent article here). And “the more time young adults spend on social media, the more likely they are to become depressed”, another study has found.
So despite all this kit and our connectedness, we are very likely missing out on ways of connecting that are life-affirming and health-giving.
Now we’re trying to do our bit to resist – not by throwing our Samsungs into the river, but by providing convivial alternatives, and the most simple and life-giving of them all is eating together.
This is nothing new: early Christian communities were centred around the ‘refectory’, and today others are discovering how sharing food together can be creative and affirmative. Olafur Eliasson, an artist, has placed a kitchen at the centre of his studios in Berlin, where staff and guests eat and exchange ideas. In an article from the Wall Street Journal, he says: “It takes you to a place of feeling like you are part of a civic system, like you are part of society … It takes you to a place of not feeling alone.”
Jesus put eating at the centre of his little team, and asked his followers to grasp how special and meaningful those meals were — particularly his last one.
Lunch and Life is what we’re calling our invitation to get together in homes to share food on first, second and fourth Sundays. Starting at 12:30, bring along some grub to share and eat, and we’ll also spend time trying to digest what it means to be part of Jesus’s 21st Century team. For more info, including venues, call 01206 622712.