Pastor’s Pen – August 2022

The Lost Community …

Pastor Peter Hartley of Dunamis Church Yarrabilba
Pastor Peter Hartley of Dunamis Church Yarrabilba

What Are The Aftereffects?

Hasn’t the last few years been interesting, yet it seems it’s not over with the threat of a third wave of Covid knocking on our doorsteps! Many I know have questions over the vitality of the measures that were put in place. Were they effective, overreaching or simply delaying the enviable? It’s easy to find fault in decisions after they have been made; were they right? The truth is we simply don’t really know. We don’t have the ability to look back and test all decisions with their opposites, to find the right ones. We can however look at the aftereffects of decisions made to see if there are positives. Out of all these decisions there is one characteristic that has not been positive, something that we have seen coming to the surface over the last bit of time; this is the negative effects on human interaction within society.

We are by nature connective people (yes, that includes the introverts too); we all have a need for human interaction. We have the function to connect, although over the last 20-30 years there has been a subtle underlying message to pull back. If we look through the way communities have interacted in the past, they were an essential part of daily life. Now, with the invention of the smart phone and the bustle of life we are pulling away from community and creating unhealthy lifestyles. 

Have you every stopped to wonder why there is an increase in mental health issues? I believe it can be traced back to the pressures of life as well as the smart phone as well as the separation of connection, which is interesting because smart phones were designed to keep us connected! Now, I am not against the smart phone, I own one, they have become a part of our lives! You can look out your window while driving to see people walk down the street with their phone in hand and eyes fixed on the screen. People even text each other when they are in the same room!

Yet the most popular apps are social media platforms. But are we more social? Has our community really benefited from all the advancements within the world? Has technology advanced our ability to connect or are we seeing a separation? For me, I am seeing that humanity is busier, and we use technology to create a false reality that we are more connected? The real problem of course is the falsehood that is social media. How can we be more connected when what we are seeing has been screen shot with filters, rehearsed, or even edited? The truth is what we ‘post’ it to be!

Granted, with anything there are positives but are the negatives a false re-enactment of what we think or believe are the positives? During the last few years, the need to pull away from the very sense of community has and will play havoc for years to come. We have seen the warnings: isolate, social distancing, the almost stopping of the handshake and hugs, general human contact and mask wearing. What are the long term affects within your society?

Further, who can disregard the importance human interaction brings to our immune system!

And so, as we draw through this season, we need to decide what we do now and how we are going to move forward. The pressures of this world cannot be an excuse to draw away unknowingly from what we were designed to exhibit. The need for community is part of our human DNA and in a lot of ways we need to almost be defiant to the virus and push to create the opportunity to interact within community so we can thrive again. 

Get out there! Meet your neighbours! Get involved in your local community and as life opens again, so do the possibilities of community, your community.

We need to create a catalyst that drives humanity to champion community or what I fear will become the legacy of a virus, will be the long-term effects of a society that is absent from its own community. Perhaps that is what is truly “long Covid”.

When we pioneered our church, we made our mission statement “a community for a community”. We are a community of people who want to develop our community to benefit the greater community. We want to see the increase, growth, and overall health of our community. We believe in this community, and we love that it’s young, diverse, and packed with potential and possibilities. 

A boulder on a hill has potential. But it’s not until we give that boulder a push and get it moving do we see the once dominant potential come to life. Your place in the community you live in is not to sit quietly on the hill and admire the view; it’s to get rolling and get involved and the truth is simply that sometimes we all need a push! What your community needs is YOU! There is a reason the word community has an “i” as well as a “u” in it!

Peter Hartley

Senior Pastor, Dunamis Church