Much is being written these days about how we are all living in isolated bubbles of shared beliefs. It turns out that social media has compounded the problem by feeding us what we have taught them we are interested in while filtering out stories and information that we no knowledge of. Yesterday I googled, “used patio furniture”. When I went on facebook that evening to catch up on all those cute baby pictures and puppy videos I had missed during working hours, my facebook feed was loaded with ads for patio furniture. What happened? I was being fed information that suited my silo.
This is really bad for us in so many different ways. We start thinking that everyone agrees with us (FYI NOT TRUE!). We stop hearing different perspectives that might challenge our own way of thinking. This is extremely dangerous. When people prefer to hang out “with their own kind” we end up with siloed, closed relationship groups and often lose perspective and decrease our opportunities to grow, learn, and expand our worldview. I understand that the world is moving very fast and it is sometimes tempting to hunker down and stake out a small space that feels comfortable. But this is exacerbating our problems! We are not learning how to respectfully disagree with one another! We get in the habit of thinking in “us versus them” terms! This is all so very very naughty and not in all keeping with the call of Jesus to love God, self and others.
When we depend on a few intimate relationships to provide a stamp of approval on our various points of view, we are all in danger of getting off track.
We lessen this temptation if we maintain a balanced perspective and commit ourselves to taking responsibility for ourselves (take time to wrestle with what we really believe, think, feel and need to do regardless of your group) and finding social settings where we contribute to the greater good. Any social setting that doesn’t provide us an opportunity to rub shoulders with people who disagree with us on some issues is not a community, it is getting dangerously close to being cult-ish.
It may seem easier to hang out with folks who “get us” but easy really doesn’t cut it for people who want to be part of God’s story. How have you possibly cut yourself off from perspectives that would be helpful to broadening your understanding, challenged your prejudices and allowed for time to practice your interpersonal skills for loving?