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Pastor's Monthly Newsletter Message

September 2011


Facebook and Facetime


“Technology is good, but humanity is better.

People need more ‘facetime’ than we’re getting.”


Dear Friends, 

            I woke up at 2:20 this morning thinking about the comb dispenser in the men’s room of the roller skating rink that we frequented as kids.  I don’t know if kids still roller skate today.  But do you remember how teens used to pack into those large rooms, called “rollerenas,” with bare wood floors?  We would rent boots with wheels on the soles, and roll around beneath a disco bulb to songs like “Love Will Keep Us Together” and “I Will Survive.”  When you consider that there were rotary dial payphones in the lobby and cigarette vending machines in the snack bar, a comb dispenser in the restroom doesn’t seem out of character.  After all, rollerenas were romantic hotspots.  Boys and girls alike sported long hair in those days, and flying around the rink at 15mph could tangle a guy’s coif.  So they sold combs out of shoebox-sized dispensers, mounted to the bathroom wall. The boxy lettering of bygone days announced: Pocket combs! 20 cents. Have you one?

            I thought the anglophile word order (“Have you one?”) seemed a little pretentious for a rollerena.   But the question spoke to me…because I never did have one.  And in those days I typically needed one.  Now, of course, decades later, my combing days are long since past.  And that’s just as well, for I could no longer hope to buy a comb from a dispenser in a men’s room.  You just don’t find guys wearing those high-maintenance hairdos of old.  I really don’t even know where you might find a roller skating rink.

            But think how the world has changed in so short a time!  Do you remember being impressed when local drugstores started developing our rolls of film within the hour?  We no longer had to send our film away and wait a week or two before getting our pictures back.  But now everyone uses digital cameras.  You don’t have to be a senior citizen to remember how fax machines revolutionized our lives.  But now, except in certain legal circumstances, we just attach our documents to emails.  You don’t have to be a caveman to recall the days when a portable phone weighed four pounds and came in its own purse-like carrying case.  Now we have iPhones that can access the Internet, take quality photos, give you directions to any street address, and sing your favorite songs.

            These advancements are good; they have the power to bring people together.  But they also have the power to make us lonely.  After Michelle finally convinced me to get Facebook—about two years ago—I logged onto it one morning to see how all my old college friends were doing, only to discover that one of them was doing poorly.  She was having a very difficult pregnancy, and along with it, a mental health crisis of epic proportions.  The worst part of all: Instead of sharing her grief and fear with a real, present, flesh-and-blood person, she made the mistake of sharing it with Facebook, a choice which only frightened and worried her “Facebook friends.”  Many wrote in to beg her to go talk to a living, breathing human being—not her computer screen.  Technology is good, but humanity is better.  People need more “facetime” than we’re getting.

            The world is changing fast, but nothing can replace real life relationships.  It’s those relationships that make life meaningful and sweet.  Bower Hill Church is a place where community happens.  Kickoff Sunday begins with breakfast at 8:30 a.m. on September 11.  The newly reconstituted Parish Life Committee has been working hard to bring us opportunities to get to know each other.  There are new faces in worship every Sunday.  I’m excited about the future of Bower Hill Church.  Remember to invest some time in building relationships here.  And—that being said—don’t forget to “like” our page on Facebook!  Just go to your Facebook page and punch in “Bower Hill Community Church” to find us.