I’ve been reading the book The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, and it has really gotten me thinking about the way globalization affects spiritual community and local community.
For example, it is typically taught that when the Great Commission talks about being witnesses in Jerusalem, it is talking about starting the great commission locally and then moving out from there. Up until recently, the question of ‘what is local’ has never been a problem. But with the growth of technology, specifically the rampant growth of “communities” via the internet, the lines of local and distant have blurred.
I often times feel more local with friends living on the other side of Dallas, or backpacking through Europe, or studying in South America, or fighting in Iraq, than I do with people living next door to me. Is this bad? Is the shifting of ‘local’ to transcend it’s geo-political nature a bad thing? Or is it just an inevitable shift?
The hard part about this question and why I think it can cause controversy, is that we are still a world in transition. Although I might relate my local community more along the lines of those people I am connected with through technology, my next door neighbor may not.
This idea of ‘local community’ is a far more complex issue than can be addressed in a blog post, but I thought I would at least mention it. It seems like the ends of the earth have become our Jerusalem in many instances, and it will take sometime to sort the impact of that out.