Thomas Friedman once wrote an editorial for The New York Times entitled, “Surfing Alone.” In this editorial he writes: “I just completed a book-related tour around the U. S., which left me feeling that a backlash may be brewing against all the technology hype now dominating our lives. If 1998 was the year of Internet hope, and 1999 the year of Internet hype, maybe 2000 will be the year of Internet reality.”
Friedman goes on to recount a variety of experiences he had that made the personal connection among people, something that seems to be missing in today’s fast-paced living. Like the bar Cheers of the late, great television program, Las Vegas seems a little likely place to demonstrate human solidarity. Yet this is exactly what Friedman finds and records in his diary:
Walking through the casino in Las Vegas I was struck by all the shouting around the craps tables—strangers high-fiving each other in victory and consoling each other in defeat. You can’t do that gambling online alone in your basement. Las Vegas is thriving today precisely because it is such a tactile place, so full of people rubbing against people—at shows, in casinos, in fantasy hotels and in giant swimming pools. Las Vegas is the future because it’s the past (Thomas L. Friedman, “Surfing Alone,” The New York Times, May 30, 2000).As church folks it is good to know that if people want to connect with other human beings, then we as a congregation are still here for good.