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The Christadelphian | February 2015

In the magazine this month:

  • Editorial The simple truth
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Sunday morning “He gave them bread from heaven” | Jonathan Cope
  • Studies in Matthew’s Gospel 14 – The Prophet like Moses | John Benson
  • What is the penny? | Margaret Yuile
  • 100 years ago
  • The power of God’s wisdom in creation | Allan Harrison
  • Fellowship and communication | Helen Kitchen
  • The purpose of the Ecclesia 12 – The Ecclesia as the lampstand | Peter Anderton & Paul Tovell
  • Mexico Bible School | David Lloyd & David Jennings
  • The Principles Governing Fellowship | Islip Collyer
  • Faith Alive! Facebook – One sister's experience | Rachel Yuile
  • Signs of the times A dangerous world | Lawrence Maffioli
  • Israel and their Land Returning home | Roger Long
  • Epilogue “Three times a day” | David Caudery
  • The brotherhood near and far

A sample article from this edition:


One sister's experience

Facebook is widely used today in our community, and not just by young people. It has many advantages, but must be used thoughtfully. Here is one sister’s experience.

I have been on Facebook for about ten years, ever since my student son was working away from home one summer and wanted to show me some of the photos he’d been taking. “It would be so much easier to show you them on Facebook”, he said. “What’s Facebook?” I asked. It turned out to be a useful way of keeping in touch with a small group of friends and relatives. My son was right – it is a very easy way to view people’s photos.

Is it all trivia?

So I became acquainted with the strange world of ‘friends’ who put up a wide variety of ‘status updates’, encouraged by the stock Facebook prompt, “What’s on your mind?” I have to admit that I found the contents of my friends’ minds a bit bewildering. Do I really want to know that somebody has visited a coffee shop? Am I desperate to find out the next instalment of somebody’s very mundane ‘catching up on housework’ status? But these words, “What’s on your mind?” brought it home to me that my own mind is often taken up far too much with the mundane as well. I just don’t normally choose to advertise the fact on Facebook.

I rarely put in status updates – does anybody really want to know that it’s raining here, or that I have banged my elbow? Yet some status updates are worth reading – reminders of the hope of Christ’s return or a helpful quote from the daily readings, or encouraging news of a baptism. The global nature of social media does worry me at times. Is it helpful for a young person in poor circumstances to read of lavish holidays or new cars? (Is it helpful to anybody at all?)

More important things

Occasionally, though, larger events take over people’s updates. In the weeks leading up to the referendum in Scotland, it was impossible to escape the subject, both online and in the ‘real’ world of shopping, visiting the dentist and standing waiting for a bus. Church congregations were split down the middle by differing views on the best outcome for Scotland and the stack of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ leaflets filled our recycling bin. When I was distributing our ecclesial preaching newsletter, a man stopped me to ask, “What’s this?” He smiled at my explanation and said, “That’s alright then”. From the ensuing conversation, it transpired that he had the same stack of leaflets in his recycling bin and he was glad to see something different coming through his letterbox!

From some of the status updates on Facebook, I saw that the referendum could easily cause discord in our ecclesias. It appeared to touch people in a way that normal elections don’t. Eventually, the day before the vote, I realised that it was time to make my own thoughts public. Perhaps I had left it too late. One of the conversations I’d had with a complete stranger seemed to be the place to start. So this is what I said:

Three weeks ago, I was standing at a bus stop in Bannockburn when a teenage lad came along and started picking feverishly at a ‘Vote No’ sticker. “I see you feel strongly about that”, I said. “Yes,” he replied. “I hate the English”. I expressed my sadness, as my mother is English and can’t help where she was born. He told me “the English take all our money and we are paying for London’s sewage”. (Must examine my shopping list more closely …) Suspecting that his world view is a little limited, I asked him if he knew what was happening in Ukraine and Syria. He didn’t. Perhaps our own view of the world is a little broader, but it still isn’t wide enough to know exactly which way God wants this vote to go. The Bible tells us what is going to happen, but we are not given every little detail of the things that will happen in our small corners of the world. However, we can be sure that our lives are much better in God’s hands than in the hands of politicians. That’s why tomorrow I will not be taking part in the referendum. I have already cast my vote for a world leader who is not corrupt and will actually be able to sort out the world’s problems.

Perhaps it was too little too late. From some of the private messages I had after my message went online, there were people who were grateful to be reminded that we have very good reasons for abstaining from political involvement of any sort.

Many brothers and sisters choose not to get involved with social media, and I understand and respect their reasons. However, while my sons and other young people that I care about are involved, it is useful to see what is exercising their minds so that certain issues can be dealt with privately when necessary. It is unhelpful to respond to individual comments publicly; Jesus instructed us in Matthew 18 to approach the person privately when there are problems to sort out. However, the referendum was affecting everybody who lived in Scotland and it seemed best to write something general for all of my ‘friends’, whether Christadelphians or not.

“What’s on your mind?” If we answered that question honestly we would probably be ashamed of the very trivial nature of our thoughts. Whether we make our thoughts public or not, we can probably all improve on their content. May our Heavenly Father strengthen us as we try to fill our minds with worthwhile things that will help us to prepare for His kingdom.

Rachel Yuile


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