January 7, 2016—I was listening to Daniel Goleman on TED Radio last weekend talking about the 21st Century generation’s unique developmental journeys. He said that we are witnessing the first generation of human beings who are learning empathy, conversation and compassion via social media. Or not.
What will it look like when a whole generation learns how to make friends, engage in conversation, navigate conflict, and date primarily via social media? We all know that it’s easier to be mean and trollish on social media than it is to be mean and trollish face-to-face. What if the next generations never learn how to connect up close and personal?
Goleman says: “Emotional intelligence begins to develop in the earliest years. All the small exchanges children have with their parents, teachers, and with each other carry emotional messages.”
Social media is not the most reliable venue for sharing emotional messages. We who use email every day have had experiences when we misread the tone because email doesn’t convey tone.
So . . . how can the Church impact this reality?
There are several things that Spiritual Communities offer that cannot be found in few other venues. For example:
For this reason and many more, I believe that the institutional church will thrive in the 21st Century. It won’t look like it looked 50 – or even 20 – years ago. But there is so much we can share that is sorely needed in a world craving connection.
Jan Edmiston, Co-Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with T. Denise Anderson, is the associate executive presbyter for ministry in the Presbytery of Chicago, where she has served since 2011. Prior to that she served congregations in northern Virginia and New York. She completed her MDiv at Andover Newton Theological School and her DMin in Christian Spirituality at Columbia Theological Seminary in 2001. She has graciously agreed to let us repost some of her blog entries (including guest bloggers) from A Church for Starving Artists.
The Center for Lifelong Learning offers an abundance of courses and events for pastors and lay-persons seeking vibrant learning and cohort opportunities specifically created to build and enhance skills in Christian education and formation, church leadership, spiritual formation and spiritual direction. Check out our current classes HERE.