There is a new tv show in the fall of 2018 called “God Friended Me.” I have never seen it, so this is neither an endorsement nor an encouragement not to watch it. As quickly as network shows come and go now, it may not even be on the air by the time you read this. That might be a topic for another note.
Network TV fare still relies on an audience of a certain size in order to attract advertisers so that the producers of the show make money. That means the shows must appeal to a wide audience. Shows on streaming services and even, to some extent, on cable channels, do not have the same pressure. They can appeal to a much smaller audience and still be considered successful because the producers are working in a different business model. Many of our congregations are appealing to a very select (and small) number of people. Some of these churches are not able to sustain the financial model that includes supporting a big building designed for a different time and audience. I wonder what a new business model here might be?
Friend or Un-Friend?
Anyway, back to this new show. One of the my grandsons (who is 9 ½) is fascinated by the title of the show. I don’t think he has seen it either. But, he remarks on the title whenever an ad for it comes on and sometimes brings it up out of the blue. Then, the other day, he asked me the question we all ask from time to time, “Would God ever un-friend someone?” My immediate reply in the midst of tidying up the family room was, “Well, I hope not. That is kind of the whole point of our understanding of faith!”
The Heart of the Matter
It struck me that it really is at the heart of what we believe. God’s attention to us is not based on the quality of the pictures we post or the number of friends we have. God’s interest in us is based on who God is, not on who we are. God’s love for us comes from God’s own choice, not from a response by God to something we have done.
Whether or not God uses social media is beyond my understanding. But, if God does, then I believe (and so do you) that God would never un-friend us, but is, instead, always there, ready to respond in order to give us hope that we can share with all whom we meet (and friend!)
Susan D. Krummel (Sue)
Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Chicago