Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Church of Facebook - A review

A revolution is taking place, one profile at a time.  Online social networks like Facebook and MySpace are connecting people like never before.  With hundreds of millions of users, they’re creating almost limitless potential to redefine our personal worlds.  It’s a movement that’s changing how we form relationships, perceive others, and shape our identity.

In his new book, The Church of Facebook (David C Cook, October 2009) author Jesse Rice takes a deeper look at the movement which, at its core, reflects our need for community.  “Our longing for intimacy, connection, and a place to belong has never been a secret, but social networking offers us a new perspective on the way we engage our community,” Rice states.  This new perspective raises new questions: How do these networks impact our relationships?  In what ways are they shaping the way we think of ourselves?  And how might this phenomenon subtly reflect a God who longs to connect with each one of us?

The Church of Facebook explores these ideas and much more, offering a revealing look at the wildly popular world of online social networking.  “The new landscape of social networking tells us two basic things:  One, we have a deep desire to be known.  And, two, we are faced with a technology that both enables and hinders the intimacy we’re looking for,” Rice says.  From personal profiles to status updates, author Jesse Rice takes a thoroughly entertaining and insightful look into what Facebook reveals about us, and what it may mean for the future of “community.”

Social networking is no fad; it has become a fact of life, especially for teens and twenty-somethings.  The Church of Facebook is essential reading for parents and pastors who want to understand this trend and its impact on their children and congregations.  Rice’s discussions will engage social networkers of all ages and stages who are wrestling with the very real issues of identity, meaning, purpose, and friendship within the context of virtual communities.

In the end, The Church of Facebook moves readers toward understanding God’s work in the body of Christ, the church.  Driven by Rice’s thought-provoking questions, observations, humor, and heartfelt storytelling, The Church of Facebookchallenges readers to consider new perspectives regarding their social networking habits and how those habits may point to deeper heart issues and, ultimately, our hunger for Jesus.

Author Bio: Jesse Rice is a writer and musician and served for eight years as the Contemporary Worship Arts Director at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, a large and thriving congregation in the heart of Silicon Valley.  Jesse has a Master’s in Counseling Psychology and is an authority on the search for meaning in a fast-paced, hyper-connected world.  He is a sought-after worship leader and speaker with more than fifteen years of experience working with college students and young adults.  Jesse and his wife, Katie, live in Palo Alto, California.

What did I think?  This was an interesting read.  I found myself saying "hmmm" quite a few times.  Rice gave a lot of interesting real life anecdotes to illustrate his points.  His writing style is clear and easy to read with some humor sprinkled in here and there.  This is a book written with a christian perspective, but it doesn't hammer you over the head with said perspective.  Looking into the psychology behind why we do things is interesting to me.  Fascinating even.  (I'm a bit of a psychology nut).  So I found this fun to read.  I made several mental notes to myself while reading, especially as I thought about my kids who will soon become one of those in the 'plugged in' generation that don't know any differently.

I could probably go on and on about my own thoughts about Facebook and all the ins and outs, but I won't.  What I will say is that I agreed with quite a bit of what Jesse Rice had to say.

This book was provided to me by David C Cook for an impartial review

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