Paying for School

My ongoing adventures in life and the pursuit of more...

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Facebook is My Drug, but Not by Choice

The old prophet Isaiah recorded this message from God, ““Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord…” (Is 1:18 NAS)

If a Sorting Hat put me in a House, this would be the motto of the House into which I would be sorted.

This is the both the reward and poison I find on Facebook. It has come to be the most immediate and effective way for me to reach out to the network of people who I know in the world. I have friends in Canada from coast to coast. I have friends in the U.S. from coast to coast. I have friends in the U.K., New Zealand and Australia.  I have friends in South Africa.  Not “Facebook friends” with whom my connections are only virtual but real, flesh and blood friends with whom I’ve broken bread, drank wine and sang songs together. Facebook has become the primary way in which I can address all these friends at once and invite them to “come, let us reason together.”

This is important to me because of my wiring. I learn best in community. I think best in community. I grow best in community. I feel best in community.  Yes, I'm an introvert, that's how I recharge, but I need people for the really good stuff.

Facebook has been a lovely way to facilitate long distance conversation in a simple way that does not require everyone to be at the same place at the same time in order to facilitate the sharing, posing, refining and exploring of ideas and observations.

Facebook has also been like a terrible poison that injects itself into the veins of my ordinary days. Friends post their own words or the words of others that they endorse and I am devastated to glimpse that which inspires, informs and fuels their world view. I have hurt more than one friend simply by commenting on their post with a statement, link or question that pushes back on their post. And I have hurt more than one friend simply by posting something that they felt was offensive or contrary to how they felt I should see things. Some of these friends have “unfollowed” me on Facebook, some have “unfollowed” me in real life.

In this texting age, I have discovered that when someone texts me, they expect a fairly quick reply. When I fail to reply in a timely fashion, I have unintentionally hurt people. When I have failed to ever reply to a text, I’ve deeply offended people. There is an expectation that comes with the development of technologies, particular social technologies, and I often fail to live up to the implicit protocol of social communication technology. On Facebook, it feels like the stakes are raised exponentially to give a magic thumbs up to someone’s post, their new profile picture, or their link. And as a Christian, may God have mercy on our soul if we post or share something that our fellow Christians deem as Liberal (yes, I’ve been called a ‘libtard’ thank you muchly) or as a Fundamentalist (on my own wall, thank you for stopping by), a Republican, a Feminist, an Academic (God’s ways are higher than our ways, He offends the mind to reveal the heart, your head is getting in the way of the Spirit, stop me if you’ve heard this one…) or a Socialist (medical care for everyone paid for by our tax dollars, that’s evil!) It is wearisome.

But like a moth to the flame, I keep coming back because I need community with which to work out my stuff.

And to be honest, I live in a place where getting together with friends often requires a juggling of schedules, calendars and appointments that can be so extensive that we actually need to schedule time together to schedule time together.

And did I mention how much I hate the phone. Hate is not the right word. I literally have a negative physical and emotional reaction to a ringing phone.

I need people, want people in my life (like for real, not a number on my Homepage, a number IN MY HOME.) I’ll open a bottle of wine, pour you a glass of Scotch if you like, crack open a beer for you or make a cup of coffee or tea.  I need people to “Come now, and let us reason together.” And so I post on Facebook, I entertain trolls and delight in my friends who offer insight, support, correction and new challenges.  And so I read posts on Facebook and stupidly troll others and despair over some of the posts my friends make and die a little inside and the poison gets pushed inside.

They tell me that some lovely, addictive chemical gets released in our brains now when someone “likes” our post on Facebook or “likes” our picture we’ve just posted. For me, I keep coming back for the interaction, both the sacred and the profane. No doubt I have some unholy reasons and some very unhealthy ones, but deep, deep down I know this to be true, I long to connect with others with whom I can say, and practice in love, come, let us reason together.

This is my confession.

I share this confession because I am about to take a long step back from posting on Facebook.  I will continue to use Facebook to show off my granddaughter, to announce events and to otherwise advertise things associated with my full-time gig. But I'm going to stop liking things, posting ideas or links.  I think the people who would be sorted in the same House as me already have all those ideas and links. And I have this idea that if I keep shooting up with the poison, I'll never get outside to see if I can find some others like me who just want to hang out in real life and talk it out.

This matters because of expectations. I have friends and people from church who will feel abandoned because I haven't liked their post or commented on the latest mess (and I'm anticipating many of those are ahead of us). Some of my friends will feel like I'm not standing up for things I should because I won't offer a post, share or comment. If that happens to you, I'm sorry.  My door will be open to you, we can sit and have a drink together and talk it out.  If you're marching, I'll go march with you. If you want to sit on the lawn somewhere, I'll sit with you. Seriously.  But I have to take this step back for now and reserve my energy for ramblings blog posts and real life conversations which I can only hope will fill in the hours I'll have once I stop following the flow on Facebook.

Stop by, I'm buying. Let's reason together. See you then.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you. Really. Would choose the beach as a sitting place just so you know.

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    Replies
    1. ha! o.k., stop by and we'll all head to the beach for a long weekend of sorting out the world's problems.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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