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  • Stephen D Blum Jr

Facebook and Being Real . .

“I got a Facebook “like"! Woo-hoo! What? Zero comments?” Do a Google search of “too much Facebook time" and you’ll get a boatload of articles and studies showing you how all this Facebook time is making us feel more isolated and lonely. We need to socialize and connect, but this virtual visiting evidently isn’t cutting it. Why? Facebooking, like much of life, is posing, putting your best foot forward and hiding our negatives. We push our “attractive” points to the fore and attempt to hide our unseemly features. We are by nature posers needing to be loved. We fight with our spouse or scream at the kids all the way to church and then put on our smiley “church” face when we walk thru the doors. “How’s it going brother?” someone asks, and we smile and say “fine”. Faking is what we do best, without trying . . and those around us know it. Facebook didn’t create this facet of human interaction, but it sure facilitates and amplifies it. In the 2001 Spielberg film “A.I” a woman’s son is placed in suspended animation pending a cure for a terminal illness. Her husband tries to relieve her anguish by persuading her to “adopt” a young, uncannily real robot, a Mecha, (played by a young Haley Osment) to take his place. After several months of rejecting her son’s replacement she finally decides to take the plunge and activate the built-in algorithm allowing the little robot to “love” her. After a few weeks of joyful, loving interaction with her “new” son, the unthinkable happens; her real son, cured of his rare illness, comes home. The mother is torn between the affections of the young mecha, whose feelings of love are very real, and the son of her own body, and in an unavoidable, depressing scene she drives the artificial David into the woods to abandon him.The rest of the movie recounts the exploits of the forever young but artificial child in his struggle to be a “real boy”. In a final futuristic scene, artificial David is discovered by advanced humans who are able to restore him and are able also, using a lock of his “mothers” hair to recreate her, warning him that it will only be for one day, at the end of which she will “fall asleep" forever. David spends a blissful day with his “mother” satisfying his need to be loved, to be a real boy, and as she lovingly embraces him in her final sleep, he smiles and turns himself off. Forever. This story drives home an uncomfortable truth. We want to be real. Like little mecha David we have an undefinable sense of faking, of posing, when what we really want and need is to be “real”, to never have to pretend and be loved as we really are. God is the only One who can and will do this, who truly knows and loves us, sins and all. And once we come to Jesus a struggle begins. When we’re born again we acquire a second nature, Jesus living inside us who fights to save us from our old nature, making us real like Him. We now groan under sin’s weight and shame, and thirst for righteousness, to shed the sense of artificiality we loathe and be swallowed up in Christ. But we’re jumping the gun. To be sinless in this life is to lose Christ. “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me" Jesus warned Peter (John 13:8). If you're a sinner Jesus is the best friend you've got.. Trust me, it won’t be like this forever, but for now we must suffer this frustrating, periodic sense of hypocrisy, and trust that someday He will make us real and complete like Him. So, posers? Yeah. Sometimes. But someday soon we’ll wake up to be real boys and girls. Forever. Isn’t He wonderful?

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