Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Farewell Facebook!

We all want to do things to improve our lives. Often, that desire is strongest at the coming of a new year. I’ve decided that I am going to be a better man in 2015. I love this quote from one of my favorite books, Falling Upward by Richard Rohr:

“It’s a gift to joyfully recognize and accept our own smallness and ordinariness. Then you are free with nothing to live up to, nothing to prove, and nothing to protect. Such freedom is my best description of Christian maturity, because once you know that your “I” is great and one with God, you can ironically be quite content with a small and ordinary “I.” No grandstanding is necessary. Any question of your own importance or dignity has already been resolved once and for all and forever.”

Grandstanding can take on many forms. The way many people have come to worship at church is a good example. What would happen if you chose not to stand when everyone else stood? Let’s be honest. I think we’ve all felt like sitting from time to time even though the worship leader asks everyone to stand for a specific song. Not to be rebellious, but just because you wanted to sit! Or to take it a step further, a song like “How Great Thou Art” begins and by the time the chorus hits everyone in the church is standing with their hands raised and arms pulsating with each word without even being asked…and there you are, sitting in contemplative reflection, completely detached from the theatrics. More often then not, someone will come up to you after service and ask if you are okay...you know...because you were not standing. It’s as if your maturity as a Christian is somehow measured by your desire to stand for “How Great Thou Art.” This is a an example of how legalism creeps into the church and can be destructive. No where in Scripture does it state, “Thou must standeth when ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ hits the chorus on the modulation.” This is the kind of thing that makes people burn out because they feel forced to just go through the motions to appease the people around them. Worship is no longer a bonding experience between them and God but rather a moment to perform for fellow Christians.

The same stands true for social networking, especially on Facebook. It’s a powerful promotional machine but quite honestly I am done with it. It seems to promote relationships on a superficial level and can lead to more hurt feelings and misunderstandings than it’s worth. So many people post off the cuff/knee jerk updates or comments that can really make them look like lunatics. I know this firsthand because I have fed this machine. Many things I have posted in the past were hurtful or downright crazy. While I believe many of my posts were good and thought provoking, the bad still stand out. The emotional upheaval caused by Facebook is staggering. You have the times when people post about being hurt, sick, or disappointed and if you, a close friend or family member, don't immediately offer your support through a comment you somehow appear not to care. Or if it is someone's birthday and you don’t wish them a “Happy Birthday” on their Facebook timeline it once looks like they don’t matter to you. I mean, it’s nice to post well wishes for someone on Facebook but when did it become okay to just do that instead of visiting or calling the person? This is leading towards the decay of society today. We have to stop living behind our keyboards and actually interact with people! This is true for good and positive things like wishing someone a “Happy Birthday” or offering prayers when someone is struggling as well as when we need to confront someone who hurt us or talk through a problem. People say things on the internet that they would never say to someone face-to-face. Don't get me started on the whole “he/she blocked me or unfriended me and now I am offended” thing. Honestly…are we all suddenly back in high school? Yes, chances are you will be blocked or unfriended if you act and talk like someone with the social graces of a five year old. I know I have done that to people and you probably have too. I’ve even been blocked and unfriended in the past and I probably deserved it. Okay, okay....I deserved it.

With all of that said, I am done with the drama. I’m done with knee jerk comments and updates and even the people who try to communicate deep things on “private message” that would normally deserve a visit, a phone call, or at least a text message. I am done renting out headspace to people who post encrypted messages that are meant to leave you wondering if you did something wrong. If you want to find me on a social network, follow me on Twitter. That’s where you will be able to see my blog posts and random thoughts. It’s funny, but there is something freeing about being limited to just 140 characters. It makes you (or the person talking to you) carefully choose what to say in order to make a point. My Facebook feed will only update from my Twitter account for just a short time. I’m deleting the app from my gadgetry and I’ve decided to immediately log-out from my Facebook account on my computer. It is time to take control of my life again and live blissfully ignorant of the happenings in other peoples’ lives unless I should happen to see them around or receive an email, text, or phone call. I really believe this one choice is going to help me reach my goal of becoming a better man in 2015. No more useless drama and superficial encounters. It’s time to simplify. I like that. 

“It’s a gift to joyfully recognize and accept our own smallness and ordinariness. Then you are free with nothing to live up to, nothing to prove, and nothing to protect.” 

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