The internet ( thank you, Al Gore ) is a two-edged sword; it can be either a blessing or a cursing, used for good or evil! There is a lot of good stuff out there, but there's also a lot of bad; you can easily find millions of search results, literally in seconds, on any subject you can think of, theological & mundane. Anymore, pastors don't need much of a personal library, as long as they have the internet & time to search for the titles they're looking for. This is not a guarantee that the specific title they're looking for is on the world wide web ( legally or illegally ), but, for the most part, if it's in the public domain ( and even if it's not ), it's somewhere in cyberspace!
On the dark side, you can just as easily ( or easier ) find pornography, to whatever degree your little heart might desire! Sometimes. dancing images of naked women or little girls even, will pop up on your screen because you simply typed in one wrong letter in the address bar, or entered the wrong search terminology. Yes, it's not just the men who 'benefit' from this Pandora's Box, either; women can lust after their favorite Chippendale ( sans tights ) with just a few clicks of a button!
Social networking, on the other hand, and Facebook in particular, has become such a huge business ( 'everybody's doing it' ) that people must often wonder how they got along without it! It IS an easy way to keep in touch with family & friends, as long as they 'do' Facebook anyway, especially in this day & age, with the busyness of our lifestyles. With the advent, in the past decade or so, we can now carry Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & a horde of other internet sites with us wherever we go, even Youtube! Speaking of Youtube, if you need instruction on anything from small engine repair to how to load a pricing gun, you can probably find the video you need on Youtube! In fact, I just recently read a story about a former NFL star who had never farmed in his life, quit a very lucrative career in the NFL, and learned the ins & outs of farming by watching Youtube videos!
Again, there is a dark side as well, to this social networking thing! Many relationships have come to bear through Facebook ( or other SN sites ) but as many or more have crashed & burned because of it! One of the problems, as my brother-in-law has pointed out, is a lack of accountability. Because of the world wide web, you can say almost anything & get away with it! You may be looking at ( and lusting after ) the most drop-dead gorgeous blond with the most luscious & delectable boobs you've ever seen, and you may become hopelessly entangled in her web of deceit, only to find out ( too late ) that 'she' is an over-weight black man, living on Social Security & foodstamps!
Even if you live in the same town as certain of your FB 'friends', because some people are often prone to talk more freely in cyberspace, relationships have been known to go flat! With Facebook, as with texting or any other form of electronic communication, though it is easier, often, to relay a message or hold a sort of conversation, it is also easy to misread, misunderstand or even misinterpret what was relayed!
One may sign up for Facebook or a plethora of other SN sites out there ( even dating sites ) with the best of intentions; some may even have a positive impact on their cyberspace, or find the woman ( or man ) of their dreams & live happily ever after, but as the case may be, probably more often than not, one will find their hopes & dreams dashed, and find out, too late usually, what a negative influence this internet can be!
As with all of life, care & caution must be exercised when it come to the World Wide Web! One must know the difference between good& evil, as well as having the gumption to put that knowledge into practice! The internet is not evil in & of itself; pornography even, would not exist if it were not 'good' business! If people were not so easily ensnared by its seductive influence, it would not be such a booming enterprise! Even though it is well ensconced in the hearts of at least 75% of this nation of dupes, if even half of those were to, all of the sudden, stop viewing it online, or even to stop paying for the 'service', it would no longer be the thriving business that it is now!
As with politics, people are to blame for the problems & yes, the evils that we love to complain but usually don't do a damn thing about in today's society! If everybody in this country had a sudden change of heart, and just stopped ( Cold Turkey ) perpetrating or turning a blind ( ignorant ) eye to the evils that occur every day, every hour & every minute in this nation, we would see such a Revolution as the world has NEVER seen! All the Great Awakenings & Revivals of Righteousness this nation has EVER witnessed would pale in comparison & and many of the evils that now plague us would simply dry up & blow away!
It starts with the Family! If we don't get that right, then NOTHING else will turn out right! Political intrigue & social action might seem, on the surface, to alleviate the problem, but as we've seen for the past several centuries, they only entangle us more hopelessly in the web of deceit & despair! If we can untangle ourselves from this web, at the same time utilizing it for the good that we can accomplish through it, having a positive rather than negative impact on society, we can turn this country around, although it will be a slow progress; it's taken years to sink to the level we've gotten to & it will take as long if not longer to climb out!
May we, as the Covenant Community of God's People, lead the charge in this Blessed Endeavor!
Charles Haddon Shank