by Collette Broady Grund
“There is a part of me [that] no longer wants to identify as a ‘Christian,’ even though my belief and faith in God hasn’t wavered,” Liz tweeted late one evening. A moment later, she tweeted, “If God really does call being gay a sin, then I don’t know if I can be part of that and stay sane all at once.”
I hadn’t seen Liz much at church lately, but that’s not uncommon when it comes to our young adult members. But suddenly, in my virtual community, there she was, revealing a deep turmoil about her faith and the church.
On my computer screen, she said the hard things that might not have come out if we’d been face-to-face. “I don’t believe that God calls being gay a sin, and neither should you. Let’s talk more about this please,” I tweeted back.
The conversation sparked, leading to a new relationship with this young woman. Now she not only shows up in real life (or “IRL” in “Twitter-speak”) at church, but she brings her friends.
[bctt tweet=”Thankfully, in this digital age, the whole world opens up.” username=”womenoftheelca”]
There are times for me, and for many, where our live faith communities don’t provide what we need and want. The people where we live are not always the people with whom we have the most in common.
Thankfully, in this digital age, the whole world opens up. With a few clicks of the keyboard, we can search for people with whom we can find the conversation and understanding we crave.
I’ve been part of divorce groups, political organizing, step-parenting chats and prayer chains.
Nearly every morning when I open my computer or phone apps, I receive encouragement. Some Facebook messages are as effective as a paper card in the mailbox.
In moments like these, the glow of our screens seems to me the light of Christ’s own presence, illuminating the darkness.
The words that come to me across cyberspace are gospel, good news of grace and hope and forgiveness. On Facebook and Twitter, the Holy Spirit creates another part of the mysterious communion of saints, connecting us to other believers in the visible and invisible, the virtual and the tangible.
On Instagram, the face of Christ shows through the faces of my neighbors, across the street and across the world. This new facet of God’s beloved community brings new meaning to those old words from Hebrews, “We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.”