I would highly recommend Leonard Sweet’s “Viral: How Social Networking is Poised to Ignite Revival.” I was provided a copy of the book in a special pre-release directly from the author (one more reason Sweet is one of my very favorite authors) and the publisher for review purposes. You can pre-order a paperback copy for under $11 at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Viral-Social-Networking-Poised-Revival/dp/0307459152/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332540746&sr=8-1) or directly from the Waterbrook at http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9780307459152.
My favorite chapter dealt with what Sweet terms “Trading the Orange for the Apple.” He asks, “Why settle for partitioned existence when you can enjoy a life that whole?” (146). He goes to pinpoint the five orange fallacies of the church:
1) They are far too sweet. Too much sugar is not a healthy thing. Move past the narcissism and on to the mission of God.
2) Their sweetness has cost far too much. Pride in oneself morphs into fixation onto oneself and eventually becomes identifying oneself with God.
3) They can no longer reproduce. Faith in oneself is not the good news.
4) They compartmentalize spirituality. Jesus asks for ALL of our lives.
5) They fail to see the big picture. Don’t miss the larger story (148-149).
Read the chapter for yourself. Read the book for yourself. I leave you with one of the questions he poses at the end of the chapter…”Why is old wisdom constantly being rediscovered rather than reinforced and forwarded? Is wisdom less something we inherit than something we must discover for ourselves? If so, why can’t we learn from other people’s journeys? Is there nothing that can spare us from the pain of having to learn everything from scratch? Discuss” (153).
Official Book Description: The gospel is nothing without relationship. And no one gets it like the Google Generation. God came to earth to invite us, personally, into a relationship. And while Christians at times downplay relationships, the social-media generation is completely sold on the idea. In Viral, Leonard Sweet says Christians need to learn about connecting with others from the experts—those who can’t seem to stop texting, IM-ing, tweeting, and updating their Facebook statuses. What would happen, he asks, if Christians devoted less attention to strategies and statistics and paid more attention to pursuing relationships? The current generation is driven by a God-given desire to know others and to be known by others. Most of them, in seeking to connect in meaningful ways, have found a place of belonging that is outside the organized church. Why not bring the two together? Those who are sold out to relationships can teach Christians how to be better friends to people who need God. At the same time, members of the social-media generation can learn how to follow their desire for belonging, straight into the arms of God. It’s time for relationship to be restored to the heart of the gospel. And when that happens, can revival be far behind?
Official Author Biography: Leonard Sweet, Ph.D., is founder and president of SpiritVenture Ministries and serves as the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey. He also serves as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, and is the chief writer for preachingplus.com, a popular resource for pastors and Christian speakers. A popular speaker, Sweet has written more than twenty books, including the trilogy AquaChurch, SoulTsunami, and SoulSalsa.