Information Bubble

I’m a big fan of TED. They do some really cool talks on a wide variety of topics. This one interests me because of the implications both for technology but also for church and ministry.

It is common practice in the conservative Christian community to surround ourselves with people who think like us, both spiritually, politically,  and socially. Some of that happens naturally because of people are most comfortable around people that they are more similar to. This is a variant of the Law of Attraction of Homogeneous Species. Some of this also occurs as a direct result of choices and beliefs we hold as humans (this is where the implications of LAHS deviate). If we don’t approve of a denomination’s interpretation on a given topic, we will exclude ourselves from them. Actually, if we don’t approve of another church within our same denomination, we exclude ourselves from them. We only hang out with people that are ‘good enough’ people. We only go places that are ‘appropriate’ for Christians. We even draw lines that intermingle political preferences and spiritual beliefs: good Christians are Republicans and shouldn’t interact with people that hold beliefs of the Democratic party.

The problem with this is that when we shield ourselves from people based on whether we agree with them or not or whether we approve of them or not, we are doing the same thing described in this TED talk. This talk is concerned with the idea that being shielded from ideas we differ with is bad for us as individuals and is therefore bad for us globally. For Christians and churches the concern should go the other direction. If we build a bubble of agreement around ourselves, we not only keep people with whom we disagree out but we remove our ability to engage them and influence them with our ideas and beliefs. Since this is the core purpose of the Church, we completely undermine our ability to fulfill any of the Great Commission.

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