For one of the more thought provoking responses to my post How Facebook Killed the Church check out Elizabeth Drescher's article in Religion Dispatches entitled Facebook Doesn't Kill Churches, Churches Kill Churches.
Drescher's argument is that if the church were more meaningfully social then Facebook might actually be a boon to the fellowship. That is, as I argued in my original post, if Facebook activity is mainly involved in interactions with real-world friends then Facebook should supplement and facilitate real relationships at church. If those relationships existed. And that's Drescher's point. Since churches aren't facilitating deep and meaningful relationships Facebook can't get any traction. That is, if I'm not using Facebook to connect with people at church that is likely because I'm not that connected to them in reality. But if I were meaningfully connected to them, well, Facebook could be used to help us stay connected and keep track of each other throughout the week.
This argument seems to jibe with responses to my post where people have pointed out how Facebook has helped their church. Following Drescher, we can assume these positive uses of Facebook work in these situations because there is a pre-existing background of meaningful relationality already in place. Again, if we have meaningful friendships at church Facebook can be a great tool in keeping us "connected." But if these relationships don't exist, and they often don't, then Facebook isn't going to help much at all. Thus, Facebook doesn't "kill" the church as much as it might mirror a church that is already "dead."
Here's Drescher's summing up:
But until churches and other religious groups, their leaders, and members feel comfortable interacting with one another around real questions of meaning and value—questions having little to do with doctrine and much to do with practices of compassion and justice—their social media participation will do no more to revitalize declining religious institutions than holding weekly Jazzercise classes in the parish hall.
Mobile computing and associated social media have not replaced the main draw of the traditional church: spiritual connection in social context. But they have made it more difficult to mask the modern, broadcast-era practice of social and spiritual disconnectedness that plays out as much in generic coffee hour chitchat about football scores and the latest lame Seth Rogan chucklefest as it does in Facebook pages that enable participants (really, the old Facebook “fan” terminology is more accurate) to see a church’s message and comment on it, but which don’t invite genuine, person-to-person or people-to-world interactivity.
No, Facebook hasn’t killed the church. Churches are doing just fine on that front on their own.