Recently in the Lift Conference, I was in a workshop called Building Social Applications by Stowe Boyd. A very interesting workshop indeed, since it made me think a lot. Follow the link to get a nice resume by Stephanie.
One of the concepts mentioned was the "me first" principle: All social web is really focused in the individual, and not in the group. As individualism rules in our days, people will only participate in the social web if it has any benefit for them. What's in it for me?
I partly agree with that statement. I believe that is the absolute truth in our highly individualized modern society, but not so in the emergent post-modern society, where the tribe matters the most (more than myself). So, the dynamics for the teenagers of today may be very different, and that may result in much differences in the way we live the social internet.
Is it possible to make a social application where both societies feel welcome? Maybe it is. If we reward both the group and the individual, I think all of them will be included.
In my opinion, the biggest treath to christianity we have today is individualism. This belief that so permeates the culture of the modern man, has long ago stretched it's influence to the church itself. And while individualism is loosing ground in this post-modern generation, it's still there.
Why is individualism so bad? Because it goes against the very nature of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is about a Christ-centered community. If everyone is thinking mostly in themselves, where is the community? Where is the family? In Jesus words, how can a house stand divided against itself? When everyone thinks in himself, there's no room for us.
In practice this reflects everywhere in christianity. Christians go to a meeting that they like the most, and not because that's the one Christ likes the most. It's more about what makes people feel better. They go to receive and not to give. They go to feel blessed and not to bless. They go to be served and not to serve. And in the end they live a self-centered christian life instead of a christ-centered christian life. And what is sad about this is: they don't even realize that.
And that's why the church is so divided in our days. Every doctrinal difference is used as an excuse to separate churches, to create denominations, as if this was the way to solve the problem (read 1 Cor. 1:10-12). As if there was any excuse to separate the body of Christ.
In this easter day, when we remember Christ sacrifice and ressurection, let us remember that the kingdom of God is all about crucifying ourselves, and let Christ be king in our lifes, as a community of believers. We must die to ourselves, so that Christ can shine through our lifes.