Even though I’m not wearing 45 belt loops Z-Cavaricci’s I got at Chess King and ladies have far less perms, our neighborhood pool is very similar to my high school cafeteria.
On one end you have the cool table, populated by neighbors who have lived in our subdivision the longest. They drink beer, get tougher than leather tan (Run DMC reference) and feel compelled to play Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive,” approximately 37 times.
On the other end you have a grab bag of dorks, which includes me. This is the end where the guy who swims in a speedo is. This is the end where the first time parents are, a curious couple who have used SPF1000 on their child, creating what appears to be a miniature stay puff marshmallow man from the movie Ghostbusters. Just a floaty wearing, encased in thick white sunscreen monster terrorizing the pool in a swim diaper.
And make no mistake. I am a dork. I had approximately 2 friends in high school, got rejected from every fraternity in college and once shaved a Vanilla Ice stripe in my left eyebrow. That’s right, I emulated Vanilla Ice.
I’m just not a trendy person, but despite that, people often ask me, “What’s next? What are the trends that will matter in the next five years?” That’s a good question and I think I have the answer. I think I have an idea that is not only going to change our next 5 years, but probably our next 500, that’s if Burger King serving ribs was not a sign of the impending apocalypse and we actually do make it another 500.
But the thing is, I’m not the one who actually decided this idea was important. I didn’t brain storm or create it, God did. And it kind of punched me in the face when I saw it the other day in Genesis.
In chapter 2, he starts getting down to business and dealing with some serious issues. The first one he addresses is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There is death involved and it makes sense that he would so quickly address that situation. But what is the second issue he focuses on? In God’s economy, what is the next big topic he covers as critically important?
Immediately following a statement about death, God says in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
I knew it was important, I knew that loneliness was a painful thing that hurts lots of people but I honestly didn’t see how big it was until God so quickly dealt with it in Genesis.
When people ask me what trends matter with Twitter or Social Media or the Internet, I often tell them, “The same things that have always mattered.” You see Twitter and Facebook are just mediums. The message, the core issues that really shape people are the same things that we’ve always dealt with. Loneliness, joy, incompleteness, sadness, hope. Twitter is just a vehicle, things like loneliness are what matters.
Right now, we have thousands of friends who know the Facebook version of us.
Right now, we can distract you from what we want to hide with mountains of tweets and status updates and rivers of words.
Right now we have more tools than ever before to be someone we’re really not.
Right now, we are connected to more people and known by less.
If you want to change your neighborhood or your church or your whole community, don’t worry about trends. Focus on truths. Focus on the things God cares about, the things he’s always cared about from the very second chapter of the Bible.
And if you’re lonely, if you’ve created social media scaffolding that presents one view to the world in the hope that you can hide what’s really inside, please know this – God loves you.
God cares for the lonely. His heart beats loud and true and open to the lonely. God has always cared for the lonely. And all trends aside, the truth is, he always will.