Monday, January 27, 2014

Why I am Reneging on my Decision to Delete my Facebook Account or If I had a Hammer.....

Recently, I'd been thinking that I waste a lot of time online and that most of the time I waste online, is on Facebook. So I was kind of thinking of 'tuning out' and trying to enrich my life with things like books, documentaries, French and early Russian poetry, Shakespeare and an assortment of other very impressive things that ironically, I eventually would have wanted to brag about on Facebook.

Now along with this, anyone who knows my 'social media' footprint knows that I don't shy away (often) from hot-button issues. I cannot help it if I am impassioned about certain things and I want other people to know that there are things in the world that have me concerned. I have been surprised sometimes at the responses my thoughts have precipitated and the life span of some of the debates. But in the end, I'm the one throwing it out there, so in a way, I guess I get what I deserve. Not everyone wants to hear thoughts on these things and not everyone is going to agree on them.

Now what I noticed recently, and who knows, maybe it's happened before and I was oblivious, was that the comments on my posts were starting to look like the comment section on a CNN article with people twisting others' words, taking things out of context and pulling one bit of semantics from their comments to get that 'gotcha!' moment. What troubled me though, was that instead of anonymous strangers taking swipes at each other, it was family, people who know each other and love each other. Well I felt like that was the last straw. Social media had proven itself negative and totally non productive to me. But you know what, I was wrong.

The truth is that social media is highly effective (duh). And I realize that although mine is a small voice, a drop of water in an ocean really, every voice is important. We need voices, especially considering that those voices singing the praises of our slide into moral relativism are so amplified by our popular culture. When I said I was leaving Facebook, I received a few messages from people giving me their contact information to keep in touch and I got some messages from people who said they would miss my voice, my drop of water trying to swim against the stream. Hmm, maybe there is something to this new fangled inter-web thingamajiggy.

Well if I recall correctly there was a pretty import historical figure who said something about a lamp and a bushel basket. There was another historical figure who said something about having enemies being a sign that you stand up for things. And I remember someone else saying that the only things that 'go with the flow' are things that are dead. While I wouldn't say I'm the Light of the World and I'm definitely not out to make any enemies, I have no intention of 'going with the flow' like a piece of driftwood.

I am not called to be silent. I did not return to a relationship with God to quietly, passively let His word die within me. We are all called to proclaim what we know to be the truth and I won't stop doing that.

We also need to realize that like any powerful tool, social media can be used responsibly and constructively or haphazardly. A hammer is a good thing when you use it to build shelter for someone, but it's a bad thing when you use it to bash someone over the head.

It's a fine line we need to walk. As Christians we need to spread the Gospel in words and deeds, with strength and courage. But we need to remember that the greatest 'weapons' in this battle are love and compassion. Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, but he didn't forget to tell her to "go, and sin no more."

You know, it sounds like I'm actually starting to learn something from the new Pope! Gratia Papa!

God bless,