Monday, February 07, 2011

Oh....Oh, no. Just...No.

I consider myself to be a fairly self-actualized person. I try and live an examined life. Therefore, I am well aware of situations in which I behave in a manner that is petty or immature. This might be one of those times. You be the judge.

Facebook is a plague.

No really. It is an epic waste of time. It encourages some really unhealthy voyeuristic tendencies in people, myself included. And for some reason, it compels me to stay in touch with people with whom I have nothing in common and don't particularly like.

I would like to take a moment and point out something important I feel I have learned in the last year or so... There are some people in this world that I will not like. I don't have to like everyone. I feel that I need to be respectful of others, treat them with kindness, show love in what I do, etc. However, it is unrealistic for me to expect that I can like everyone. I just don't think it's possible (or necessary).

So, back to Facebook. I like that it is a nice way to keep in touch with friends and family. I like status updating. It is fun to try and record bits of my day into a two sentence soundbite that makes me sound engaging. BUT... it is also a terrible plague on humanity. It has the potential to ruin relationships (insert statistic about marriages being broken up over FB affairs here), and it is prime breeding ground for misunderstanding, misreading and misguiding a person's perception of others. I actually had a friend stop speaking to me for some time because i posted an update about my support of government health care. More than that, she actually REMOVED me from her FB friends list. Since turn-about is fair play, I also deleted a friend for a fairly significant period of time because he posted what I found to be incredibly offensive political cartoons. Have you ever been deleted? I mean...Wow. Burn. (Side note: We are friends again and cleared up this FB-related crisis in our friendship)

Since then, I have actually tried to tone down my political activism via Facebook. Frankly, I find it to be an exercise in futility. And it usually pisses me off. I think this is one of the best things I have ever seen about the FB political scene... And since trying to reduce my own spew of political rhetoric via the social network, I have also tried to stop being drawn in to other's political rhetoric. It isn't always easy. I should really stop reading posts and comments that I know will inevitably make my blood boil, but I'm like a moth to the flame over here. I can't resist a little adrenaline-pumping argument. But today...well... this just takes the cake. And I can't even BRING myself to comment on it!

A "friend of mine," who I assume does not read my blog (or if he does, I am sure will be deleting me ASAP) and whom I have considered deleting on many occasion, posted the following status update today:
If you were President of the USA, in your opinion, what is the greatest challenge facing Americans and what is your solution? I'd like to know!
Now there are the normal answers... education, the deficit, and one guy who just had to get a dig in at the "immorality" that plagues us and how we are a God-less nation (very 700 Club stuff)... But then I saw this response:
The deterioration of the family. And since money talks, let there be a financial reward - tax right-off or something along those lines - for attending church on Sundays - or Saturdays - or what fits the schedule - as a family. Once a person's butt is in the chair, it's then God's responsibility to touch their life!


I could start by pointing out some of the more obvious flaws with this, namely the spelling of "W-R-I-T-E" v. "R-I-G-H-T" but that's not really important, is it? Not nearly as important as the LUDICROUS NOTION that she has put forth. We should get a tax write-off for going to church as a family? Pay people to go to church and once their "butt is in the chair" leave God alone to fix the "deterioration of the family"? I am at a complete and TOTAL loss as to HOW IN THE WORLD it could ever improve the quality of "family" in this nation by providing a tax credit for attending church?! It seems like a quick way to further deteriorate the church. It is...a bastardization of...everything. I mean, this messes with everything I believe to be good. And at first, I thought it was funny in that, "Isn't she stupid?" kind of way. But it has been eating at me all day. This is WRONG. It is wrong that she thinks this, and wrong that there are probably a LOT of people who agree with her. I have a tendency to think in large spirals where I start at a single point, and don't stop until i don't even know who I am anymore, and this is a prime example of that. It started with someone saying something pretty dumb on Facebook, and has ended with me stewing angrily in front of my computer, thinking about how wounded the Body of Christ is becoming. It isn't even enough that ugliness and judgment and hatred run rampant in our churches, we should now pay people to participate in them? And then assume that this would, in some way, HELP matters?

I have to assume that I am completely over-reacting to the whole thing. But I am worried. I am worried about who we are becoming, as a church, as a society, as citizens of the world. I think this attitude in indicative of my why I worry. I mean...Oh...oh, no. Just...No. That's just wrong.


Jennie said...

I believe that's what the blog is for: to express your opinion, and whether others agree ...... that's their opinion!!!

riveras06 said...

I love this, thanks for giving me a little chuckle. I'm afraid I have some of the same fears as you... Frankly, I wish we could go back in time before this electronic explosion, it's ruining all of our brains.

Kim said...

This is exactly why I believe church and state are separate and should remain separate. And yes, I am a Christian. I do not believe in forcing Christian values because I believe it goes against all it means to be a Christian. Christianity is in your heart. It chooses you, but you have to choose it back for it to be real. Being compensated or being punished for not going to church...or being a Christian...or holding Christian values....goes against everything I feel I've learned on my Christian journey.

Jill Couri said...

I completely "ditto" what Kim said. She is a lot more eloquent. :) It concerns me the deep misunderstandings in the Church of what it truly means to live out our faith and this attitude is truly detrimental to a true and real and honest Christ-following lifestyle.

Tim Sean said...

Jury is still our for me. I do think it is near impossible to maintain meaningful relationships with so many people, but being able to share pics, current goings on with friends and family over a broad swath of places and periods of life has been kinda nice.

And people are too thinned skinned. Me the worst of offenders. FB is what we make it, which it sounds like that is what you are doing with it anyway.

Ariel said...

Reading this post reminded me of when I volunteered at the Salvation Army and led the music for the worship service that people had to attend to get a free meal. From my observations, being forced to attend a church service sure didn't make people pay attention!

@Kim - I agree. The most important thing about separation of church and state is freedom of conscience. People should not have to pretend to believe something they don't believe in order to obtain the same rights and privileges as the majority group. There are plenty of good people who go to church, and plenty of awful people who go to church. Sitting through a service every week does not automatically make you good.

My favorite FB tiffs are the ones where someone posts something incredibly inflammatory, and is shocked - SHOCKED! - that anyone would possibly disagree, and is offended that people comment about it on HIS wall!