Friday, January 7, 2011

Beware of the company you keep!

I recently saw the movie “The Social Network” which by most accounts should be in serious contention for the Best Picture award at this year’s Oscars. For those of you who haven’t heard, this movie is the story of Mark Zuckerberg, the man who created one of the most popular websites in the world, Facebook. Zuckerberg did this during 2003-2004, while he was a sophomore student at Harvard School of Law in New England.

The film takes us into the story of Zuckerberg’s initial creation of Facebook as an exclusive website for students at Harvard, so they could all be connected as a campus. One of the fraternities initially posed this idea to Zuckerberg, who then decided that he wanted to open up Facebook to all college students all over the country. Teamed with his friend and initial business partner, Eduardo Saverin (who helped write the code for Facebook as well as contributing a large amount of his trust fund money) Zuckerberg builds what they first dubbed “the Facebook” on servers run out of his dorm room.

Zuckerberg’s life begins to spin out of control when he meets Shawn Parker (who in real life was named Shawn Fanning) the man responsible for founding Napster, the first online music file sharing website. In Parker, Zuckerberg sees his chance at nationwide fame, and decides to move out to LA for the summer of 2004 to hang out with Parker and expand Facebook with Parker’s help. This leads him down a path that shows him turn his back on Saverin who had never done anything but support (money and all!) and encourage Zuckerberg in his efforts.

I will not share what ultimately happens in this movie because that would spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, but I will say that I definitely saw this movie as modern day parable. I kept finding myself likening Zuckerberg to a modern day Solomon who initially started out his reign as king of Jerusalem with Godly intentions. He even asked God for the gift of wisdom to be able to rule the nation in a way that would be obedient to the Lord, like his father David had been. (1 Kings 3:5-15). However, as time went on Solomon was led astray by marrying women from pagan nations, (1 Kings 11) ultimately leading the Lord to split up his kingdom after his death (1 Kings 12).

Biblical scholars have generally agreed that Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes near the end of his life and when he wrote: “Everything is meaningless, like chasing the wind” (Ecc. 2:17) the ‘everything’ he was talking about was his pursuit of things other than the Will of the Lord in his life. This readers, is a lesson that young Christians such as myself need to learn now while we are young, and I think it is a lesson quite well articulated by “The Social Network.”

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