The other day I was at the grocery store loading my trunk with cheap beer, where I was accosted by an evangelical Christian, which, although extremely annoying, is expected and trivial. Unfortunately public Christian proselytization is not only common, it’s also socially acceptable. For whatever reason when people take one look at me they immediately (and accurately) predict that I’m a musician. That’s where this all began. “Hey, man, you’re a musician, right? Awesome! Hey, we’re having a jam session tonight at our church and afterwards we’re gonna have a conversation with Jesus. You should come along and bring a guitar!” Now, I want you all to know that I don’t engage Christians on the street. I don’t mention anything religious or anti-religious. I merely take their literature, thank them, and, in this case, offer a vague response that does not in any way indicate my willingness to attend his shindig. I handed the flyer to my girlfriend and got in my car. She read it, handed it back to me and laughed. Then I noticed what was wrong with it. Here’s a picture of the flyer. Even though this flyer reveals my current city of residence (a temporary stay, mind you), I have left it unaltered, not even cropping out the church’s website.
The Potter’s House Christian Fellowship of Norfolk makes an incredibly absurd claim about Facebook friends. That is: How many people do they think have 3,073 friends on Facebook?!! According to the Pew Research Center (released 2014) 85% of all Facebook users have fewer than 500 friends. Most have fewer than 100, nowhere near 3,073. Furthermore, why 3,073? It’s a rather specific number. I can’t think of any biblical significance for the number.
Ok, so the Potter’s House seems to believe enough of us have an incredibly large number of Facebook friends to justify making an entire flyer purporting that. But then it goes on to say something even more ridiculous. I’ll quote it, even though you can skim back up and read it yourself in the image. “3,073 Friends on Facebook and nobody to talk to!” Later, after quoting a boring verse from the Amplified Bible, it adds “Get a real Life” (arbitrary capitalization of “Life” is theirs). All this, flanked by a stock image of an incredibly annoyed woman. This is quite absurd.
Facebook has a zero tolerance for adding friends you don’t know. A quick google search reveals that this practice has led to terminated or frozen Facebook accounts. Indeed, a fellow musician friend of mine had her account suspended when she tried to network with other musicians by adding them without ever meeting them. In order to amass 3,073 Facebook friends you have to go out, personally network with a sufficiently large number of people, and convince them to add you as a friend. In other words, having 3,073 friends on Facebook precisely means that you have “a real life” and people “to talk to.”
Also there’s this: “Aren’t you tired of browsing social networks online and gazing at other people’s lives? Find a meaningful life of your own. Discover destiny.” Sure, but anyone who wants to get out of the house more can do so without attending a church. There are bars, libraries, the aforementioned grocery stores, reading clubs, golf courses, nightclubs, bowling alleys, and a plethora of other places to go to have a meaningful life. Church is not a necessary variable.
The Potter’s House Christian Fellowship of Norfolk is out of touch with reality. The spirit of their message is asking people to step away from their computers, go out, and meet new people and form real friendships and create new and real experiences. The message itself is admirable and good. But the method of delivery is laughable because it completely gets wrong our social media experiences and makes foolish assumptions about our ability to physically interact with fellow human beings.
Potter’s House, what the hell?!