Facebook Mom

In case you didn’t know, people lie on the internet. Social media is full of half truths, doctored statements and photoshopped images. Just in case you didn’t know, your mom is the only one who will honestly tell the truth about you. I’ve also become quite proficient at “creeping out” potential suitors for my teenagers. So be warned, my beloveds. (If you don’t know what that means…nevermind). And since my mom is not on social media, I can say that, without the consequences falling down on me. It won’t be long, though. Grandmas have had the highest percentage of growth in social media over the last four years — tripling their usage during that time. Heaven knows I admit to watching a few of those viral grandma TikToks. So much for the mom warnings of “too much screens”.

I’m going to blame it on this crazy 2020 year of global pandemics and killer viruses. Streaming has become the only “safe” thing to do. Throw out the notions of fresh air, hands-on learning and human connection, our brains must now process only through flashed images, text and emojis. No longer do we benefit from multigenerational gatherings and mentoring from the generation before. Parenting groups and “Friends” dominate our feeds… 75% of young parents use social media and turn to it for parenting advice. We Google before we call our mother. No longer can we worship corporately or pray at the altars. Please email your requests, or use the appropriate hashtag: #churchonline

Obviously, you can see what I’ve been musing about this week. Like many of you, I’m getting tired of online school, Zoom meetings and “nothing to do” but watch Netflix. Not that Netflix is complaining… their users have admitted to watching 80% more during this year than pre-Covid. It’s a new world and heaven help you if you can’t keep up. The hubby shared some interesting stats with me this week from today’s marketers:

  • the world wide population in December 2019 is pegged at 7.8 billion people; the internet has 4.54 billion users
  • on average, a person has almost 8 social media accounts
  • we spend an average of 142 minutes a day on those accounts
  • 78% of people who complain about a brand on Twitter expect a response within an hour
  • Google processes an average of 40 000 queries every second! 15% of those have never been asked before
  • there are an estimated 270 million fake Facebook accounts
  • people now watch 1 billion hours of YouTube videos every day
  • the most liked Instagram picture is of an egg (whoo hoo…see… chickens are lit)
world record breaking egg via PetaPixel

Those are staggering statistics. No wonder I hardly have any followers… they are all looking at pretty eggs and YouTube… or maybe grandmas on TikTock. Who wants to read about me and my faith journey? Or are Jesus followers lagging behind? I suspect this 2011 stat has changed drastically since March of 2020, but back then, only 60% of protestant churches in the US were using any forms of social media networks for the “promotion” of church. True, there is a lot of bad stuff out there. A lot. But how will the light shine through the darkness if we are hiding it under the proverbial bushel basket?

I get it. Technology is hard. It changes fast. And there is some sort of balance we need to reach between filling our minds with good and pure things… and just filling our minds. Admittedly, there is not much Bible based stuff out there… comparatively speaking… and what is out there is lacking. Yet, the trends are changing. The newer, younger generation is gifted and used to life via the almighty screen. I’m encouraged by scripture posts and media streaming filled with “good” content. Perhaps God has given us a pandemic to kick start us into finding new ways to share the Gospel. Businesses have had to adapt their “marketing”… why shouldn’t the church?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I say these things, but I will be the first to admit that I’m terrible at technology. I’d love to learn how to create new Instagram Reels or YouTube instructional videos… but that takes time. And I struggle with my time already getting sucked into social media. I’m just as guilty of scrolling away my downtime as anyone else. Like any other discipline, though, I suppose learning new technology could be worthy of that time. Should I eat my own words? Am I part of the problem? Will my introvert self overcome my own fears for the sake of pressing the church into the 21st century? Okay. Maybe not.

I guess, like all parts of this faith journey, technology and the use of it will be another small step. I want to see more … I want to use it more for God’s Glory, but it’s one of those grey areas that can so easily entrap. 4.54 billion Internet users though…. What do you think? Share with me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter

Thanks to brandwatch.com and Facts&Trends for the stats in this week’s post!

The Puzzler

Are you a puzzler? Sounds like a villain from some ancient comic book series, doesn’t it? I’m not sure what they are called, but I am referring to “one who does jigsaw puzzles.” (Check out my social media if you want the answers to what they are really called…) At the start of the Coronavirus lockdown, we, like all the other families we know, got out the puzzles. Gonna be stuck for couple of weeks, might as well tackle that 1000 piece object of frustration, right? Or maybe you are the 1500 or 2000 piece master. Hats off to you. Ours started out well. The youngest was determined to finish… even time-lapsing the evidence to show the progress (see below). Alas, our kitchen table was no match for the unfinished work of art. Pieces began to slide and fall off, lost to the abyss of the living room floor. The table was taken up with other projects, and the purple flowers of the Thomas Kinkade painting eventually all blended in with the blue-green grass. We were “done” — the puzzle soon became too time consuming for our small attention spanned minds. The box got put back in the cupboard again. Maybe if we had a dedicated workspace. (I say this for about half the projects I start). I have a friend who refinished a table just for puzzles. I recall basements of older relatives set up with folding card and T.V. tables with jigsaws on them. I honour ya’ll with thought and admiration for your dedication. Sorry, not our cup of tea.

our attempts at jigsaw puzzling…and sharing videos on the blog…

Which is probably detrimental to our mental health. They tell me puzzle building is good for your brain. It makes all kinds of connections between your left and right brain hemispheres and releases “good” brain chemicals leading to calmer emotions, better memory, creativity, and eventually can raise your IQ levels by up to 4 points. Does it have to be the kind of puzzle that takes up my dining room table, though? Perhaps my denim quilt will achieve the same results… or matching tupperware lids. Or dividing brownies into enough pieces to last longer than two days in a house full of teens. Those are puzzles, right?! But, I digress…

The idea of “the puzzler” and cutting out almost 500 squares of denim for above said quilt project, had me thinking about the idea of piece work. Many of you are familiar with the Bible’s description of the church as different parts of one body. 1 Corinthians 12 goes on to explain in details how all the parts fit to make a complete whole — much like the pieces of the puzzle are designed to complete the picture (eventually — if you have the patience!).

photo credit: mcc.org

As a beginner quilter, I have new appreciation for the work that goes into a huge quilt… so many tiny stitches and pieces of fabric tediously folded and tucked — often by multiple hands to complete a masterpiece! I can’t help but think God has a folding card table set up somewhere in Heaven for His puzzle of “the Church”. Or a great sewing room somewhere with giant quilts of age-old stories weaved together with tiny, perfect stitching.

We’ve been blessed in the last couple of weeks to “fish around” a bit for a variety of online church services and worship videos. Not because we don’t love our own church body, but because isolation has given us the opportunity to see what the world is doing! His church is alive and reaching out in new and wonderful ways. We’ve had to be creative and be challenged to work together to get things done. We may be physically distant, but we are certainly not isolated! Much like the quilters of old — each working on our part of the puzzle to create a masterpiece. Younger and able bodied groups are reaching out to seniors. Gifted musicians are joining together to make concerts on balconies. Bakers and baristas are serving frontline workers. The internet has exploded with “church online”… with traditional and non-traditional services being broadcasted world wide. We need to put aside our differences and look beyond our tiny warped piece and see how our bumps and grooves align with dips and waves of others. Do we fit? Can we flip to fit even better? Does our straight edge align with the straight edge of others to frame the puzzle? Does our flash of colour blend with other, similar flashes to blend into a beautiful tapestry? Who are we to think that we have all the answers? Perhaps the Master Puzzler has given us this world wide pandemic because He wanted to pull out the old Heavenly folding card table for awhile and mix up some puzzle pieces and make something beautiful out of us. And He’s got a whole lot more patience then we do! What will you do with your piece of the puzzle?

What will you do with your piece of the puzzle???