The current book I’m reading is called Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, by Robert Putnam. The book is based on research showing how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, etc., and how we can reconnect.
The author warns that our stock of social capital – the very fabric of our connections with each other, has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities.
All this fits with what I read recently saying that 18 to 34 year olds are now called generation C. The C stands for “connected”. Now, you might say, “Wait a minute, connected is a good thing, right?” Well, actually, in this case, not so much. It turns out that what generation C is actually connected to is technology. They consume media, socialize and share experiences through devices more than other age groups.
What they don’t do is join groups of people “offline”. In other words, they are seriously lacking in live group interaction. Going, going, gone are the social clubs of my generation, where people routinely met to socialize, engage, and interact.
As Putnam puts it, young people today are severely lacking in social capital. What is social capital? It’s the measurement of how much and how often you intentionally get together with other human beings. Example: My wife Melinda belongs to a Kiwanis club, two birthday clubs and a garden club. She’s rich in social capital.
Today, however, attending club meetings has dropped 58%. Family dinners together has dropped 43%. And even having friends over has dropped 35%.
Bottom line? We are not connecting with people! And when it comes to the Great Commission, and our God given responsibility to assist in building God’s Kingdom, that’s not a good thing. Remember, only two things will remain forever; God and people. So take stock of your social capital, and make changes accordingly.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16