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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Social Media (12/01/11)

TITLE: Of Old Dogs and New Tricks
By Marlene Bonney


The well-dressed couple with three equally well-dressed young children entered the restaurant for their Sunday dinner, a special treat for Johnny’s fifth birthday. After ordering their choices from the menus, the parents tended to their children’s various needs, which included a bib for drooling McKenzie—who was known to slop more food than she consumed--opening the complimentary box of crayons for Shelby, and constant assurance to the birthday boy that the waitress would not forget to put lighted candles atop his cake.

“Thrummmp! Thrummmp!,” the cell phone on mother Marty’s lap vibrated insistently, indicating a text message from one of her friends.

“ey, mar-t. whau up2 2day?”

“Jst eTing hre @ Chesie’s Sqre 4 Johnny’s BDay . . .,” her professionally polished fingernails attacking the miniscule text buttons as furiously as an enthusiastic woodpecker.

“Mama, look, here comes my birthday cake!”

“Just a sec, hon, Mama’s busy right now,” continuing her message to best friend, Patty.

Meanwhile, Daddy was taking pictures on his cell phone, stopping to send them through cyberspace to all their friends, thereby missing the instigator of the ensuing sibling squabble.

“Shelby, did you hit your brother again?! No dessert for you, young lady,” mother affirmed, pausing in her text-ing just long enough to join in the fray.

The family made an awkward and unpleasant exit while Daddy tossed a five dollar tip on the messy table on their way out.

A middle-aged woman sitting with her husband next to the newly-vacated table clucked disapprovingly,

“See, Harold, I told you! This is just one example of why I am so against our church entering the social media scene. It will end up destroying our families, you mark my words!”

“Now, Gladys, don’t be throwing out the baby with the dishwater—“

“Harold, you know how I hate it when you use cant phrases. Whatever does that mean, anyway? I wouldn’t be bathing any baby in dishwater to begin with!”

“It means, my dove, that there is some good in what Pastor Grant has been promoting with the twitterfest. Of course, moderation in all things, as the Good Book admonishes. I agree that young people today are more interested in their social media friends than the ones standing beside them while they are communicating. . .”

“Yes, like Jason and Amanda the last time they visited—you would think our grandchildren would want to connect with US while with us. If I heard the Star Wars theme blaring from their pockets once, I heard it a hundred times!”

“But, remember, Gladys, they politely stopped long enough to play Monopoly with us. . .”

“I’m afraid you’re naïve, honey. They just put their phones on “vibrate” mode and continued messaging on their laps between turns.”

“Okay, then, I’ll have to concede that you have a point. I know that kids today seem to prefer to text than to communicate with ones they are with face to face.”

“And, what about that bullying case last month where teens were using Facebook to defame a kid with lies just because he was what they call a ‘nerd’, even accusing him of being homosexual?”

“Yeah, that was bad news. Maybe you’re right about the church, after all.”

Later that afternoon, Harold and Gladys listened to the CD of the morning’s sermon again. Pastor Grant’s excitement over using social media to humanize the church again by interacting with the present culture was infectious. The parishioners’ assignment was to look for God in the everyday the coming week and immediately share an example of that through twitter, text, blog, or e-mail.

The following Sunday, small groups gathered in the sanctuary to tell their results of the experiment. It was astounding to Harold and Gladys to learn the thousands of “hits” and responses to twittering and blogging from across the country and the interaction between the church people and the avenues of communication that opened up between them and non-believers, as well.

“We were wrong, Harold. So wrong. I guess social media is like anything else. As long as you control it instead of allowing it to control you, it can be an amazing tool of communication!”

And, with that, the couple purchased their first cell phone—paying the extra fee for text-ing so that they could actively participate in their church’s use of social media to take the message of Christ to a receptive audience in a new way.

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This article has been read 292 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 12/15/11
This was a clever story and held my attention through out. Nicely told and nicely written. Thanks. God Bless~
C D Swanson 12/15/11
This was a clever story and held my attention through out. Nicely told and nicely written. Thanks. God Bless~
Linda Goergen12/16/11
I like how this takes you from one thought and view to another, then another, each view giving a lot of food for thought. Interesting read, very well written.
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/18/11
You did a great job of showing the problems of social networking, along with some values.
annie keys12/27/11
This story struck a chord with me, I'm a granny, myself. The story makes a good point in that social media can both build AND destroy. Life is about choices, even in the social networking venue.

Thankfully, my granddaughter and I text a lot. *) Thanks for a great story!