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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cyber Communication (email, IMís, etc) (11/04/10)

TITLE: Where Did Mr. Roger's Neighborhood Go?
By stanley Bednarz


Let me put my slippers on first and get my smile ready.

I fire up my screen. First thing I see are e-mails from Facebook. They ask me if I would like to be their friend. I'm not so sure. I don't think I even know who they are! All my life I've had a secret rule about friendship, if someone has to ask me to be his or her friend, our relationship will be perilously awkward from then on. Don't look for me to give you my permanent address anytime soon.

I'm paranoid by nature, so I don't know if someone is working undercover to get to my credit card numbers via this format. Pictures can be deceiving too. Someone once sent a picture that looked like Britney Spears, but it was really a young woman trying to get to my son through me. Please don't tell my wife about that one.

Someone wrote on my wall. They say they want me to celebrate their birthday. I check the dates and they are only fourteen. I'm pretty sure it's a second cousin twice removed from my brother's wife, but you get the idea. Why would I tell this skinny kid with glasses that I wish him happy birthday, when I never bought him a gift in his entire life?

Next someone contacts me, from the official host provider. Someone lives in Poland and thinks we are related. His name: Paul Kezlowski. Do I answer? Is it some desperate plea from an orphaned seventeen year-old; or, is it a scam? What if I'm his only source of inspiration and hope that he has family living here in the United States Besides? Besides, I'd rather travel, and get out of my town. I've always wanted to go to Poland and visit the family. The prodigal Uncle has returned, the one they didn't know ever existed. Now that would be fun!

I need a break. I need my Bible, the real one, not the one on-line; it's the one where I can still smell the pages and feel its texture between my fingers.

It's a bit nippy outside, sunshine, but a steel blue sky. I grab my jacket and head for the back deck.

I read the part about how Daniel the prophet said our knowledge would be increased, as if he could see our end of days when information exploded everywhere. It dawns on me; we live in a pop up instant society, including our friendships, not to mention marriage.

I pine for the day when you could walk across to your neighbor's house and with handshake help him with a chore. Every house has a privacy fence around us. Heck, I don't have to build one now. I'm closed in on all sides. "This sure ain't Mr. Roger's Neighborhood."

"Thanks Lord for reminding me that you're the master of communication. Your not spam in my life. You are forever and always instantly available. You are way better than e-mail. Your words are true. Amen."

As I get up and stretch, another thought seeps into my marshmallow mind. The Lord is a friend that sticks closer then a brother. Now that's a friend I can live with. "Thank you Jesus."

My back aches in this garden chair, and wind picks up blowing my Bible pages. "I guess it wouldn't hurt to see if I won a writing contest. Too bad all my friends on Facebook can't vote for me.

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This article has been read 522 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/12/10
I liked this gentle MC. I smiled at the part about a possible long lost uncle. Someone found our family through the Internet. Of course with a name like LochmannVanBennekom my husband's family doesn't know many people with the same name. It turned out he was a family member from Holland. Your story was sweet and the message touching. Great job!
Verna Mull 11/12/10
I agree, I loved dear old Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. Will have to admit that there IS some good in a computer and all of the contact that it brings. Good article.
Theresa Santy 11/12/10
I loved the message here.

The Lord is the master of communication, and instantly available.

And yes, the smell and sound of thin crisp Bible pages offer a welcome respite from the often cold digital world.

Loved it.
Colin Nielsen11/12/10
I much prefer the digital version of the bible when studying. Makes it much easier to find verses. But Reading to my children would be a bit hard at bedtime with a desktop beside me lol.
Nice writing. Nice story.
Noel Mitaxa 11/14/10
You're showing our age... Thanks for guiding us gently through the irony of so much instant communication, when compared with the truth that throws more light on our times. Very enjoyable.
Karen Pourbabaee 11/18/10
Your title warmed my heart as I recalled countless hours watching this with my daughter. I loved the humor and the great truths you presented here. Instant messaging with God, who would've thought. And I do still love the feel of my Bible pages...I'm with you on that:)