Our New Neighborhood
From my bedroom window I can see the backside of several buildings that surround the outer perimeter of a wide, bleak concrete corridor, better known to those who live in the six story tenements as the alley. Although the sun pays an occasional visit, clothes lines sway precariously from various heights, heavily laden with weekly wash while the week’s garbage languishes below, skillfully pitched to avoid newly laundered clothing and recognition..
While the weekly wash dries with every hint of sunshine and without a garbage hit in the relative quiet of the concrete backyard, the front side of the neighborhood better known as the block is awash with the “howdy and the handshake” and more than enough gossip. In contrast to the alley that harbors the unknown, the block leaves little chance to remain anonymous behind hastily closed windows.
It bustles with activity, and windows remain open during the summer for breeze and buzz. In winter, blinds are pulled up, curtains tied back, and all encumbrances to one’s ability to see what’s going on in the block are moved aside.
From the window, names are called with last minute instructions, dinner alerts sounded, and invitations to “come over” delivered by word of mouth while Grandma and Grandpa sit for hours connecting to the world from behind their favorite window.
On this day, Miriam stretches from her window as far as safety allows to invite Gina to her birthday party. Then, like two birds twittering on a shaky limb, they spend most of their homework time talking about why she wants to invite the new boy on the block.
“He’s so cute! I hear he just moved from Alabama. I just must meet him,” Miriam begins.
On the street three stories below, Mrs. Laury pauses on her way from work to talk to Mrs. Hutchinson. Mrs. Laury’s face shows her concern.
“So sorry to hear about Herman, Barb, how’s he doing?”
They chat for several minutes, then part and head for home.
In Apt. 6A, on the sixth floor of the building directly across from where Miriam and Gina live, Pam gives an extended sigh of relief. She has just inserted the last of the Bridal Shower Registry information into an envelope. There’s little time to waste before the post office closes, and the wedding invitations must go out today.
Much of the communication bustle that went on in the old neighborhood belongs to history, but girls like Miriam and Gina still hangout at a different sort of window. Women like Mrs. Laury and Mrs. Hutchinson continue to chat at several meeting places during the day, and every day soon-to-be brides like Pam transmit information without the need to scurry.
The neighborhood is no longer confined to a chance meeting, to window box chatter, or to the availability of a community services. It’s evolved into a vast, electronic communication system known as Social Media.
In this new neighborhood, every second a window opens, and every second someone leans out to say hello, to share information, or to link up.
Unfortunately, every second a sex predator, cyber bully, or hacker throws garbage and tries to remain anonymous.
One idea for a response to the online litter problem came early one Saturday morning when I awoke to the sound of someone singing and peered outside my window. There in the alley way stood an older woman with bible in hand, belting out an old gospel song: Stop Now, It’s Praying Time.
Then, for the next fifteen minutes and among the debris, she shared the gospel with words that traveled through cracks in the window frame to those whose faces she could not see.
She was an innovator of a different kind, one we should try to emulate. Too often, Christians miss the opportunity to share their faith as a counterattack against the abusive practices that soil the social media.
A chance to do so is ever present. After I read an article in a very influential internet newspaper that questioned the infallibility of the Bible, I used their Comment section to express my views along with a testimony of my faith. Many responded.
I did so because I believe that as long as political correctness, social progressiveness, and promiscuous perversion continue to sully our online neighborhood, Christians will always have a solemn responsibility to get in line, eager to proclaim the Good News. Social media is the new neighborhood and another “Jerusalem” for every believer who lives there.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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