Friday, May 8, 2009

Reason #262 Why I Don't Belong on Facebook

I find myself wanting to "hide" a Facebook friend.

It seems that I am learning WAY more than I want to know about a Facebook friend or two. I'm not talking about responders to those stupid quizzie things, "What gumball flavor are you?" or "What celebrity will you marry?" or other such meaningless stuff that folks feel compelled to tell the world (our two sons are perhaps the worst offenders of posting those stupid quizzie things).

It's when they post serious stuff, such as this, posted by a guy I really like - a pastor who is a former colleague:

"This generation is not looking for a church - they are looking for Jesus. I am Lutheran because of the beauty of our theology and the deep respect of God's grace. This is our shared heritage. I pray that, as Lutherans, we may be called by this generation to LIVE our theology as well as we TALK about it. It is an age of re-formation and, like the first, we are called to put Jesus, not church, at the center."

People want Jesus without the Church, he says. Seems people WANT lots of things - including Jesus without the cross. Or Jesus without worship. Or Jesus as genie-in-a-bottle. Or a personal sort of Jesus who belongs solely to me. Or, worst of all, the infamous Jesus as my boyfriend.

I did respond with a brief comment about Jesus and the Church being a package deal (and I really wanted to mention that a Jesus without the Church is not a part of the Lutheran "shared heritage" or the "beauty of its theology" that he mentions). The statement is so troublesome to me that it bothered me for much of the day - still bothers me, really. And what bothers me even worse is that I am the only one of his 258 "friends" that saw this update who challenged him about it. The only other responders gave him the old thumbs up or thanked him for his meaningful insight.

I like this fellow alot - he's just the sweetest guy ever. And while I enjoy seeing news of his family and photos of his growing kids and stuff, I'm so bothered by some of the theological material he puts out there that I think I might be better off not seeing that.

So Facebook handily provides a "hide" feature, which allows one to see less of the material posted by specific "friends." It saddens me to have to hide him, but if I'm going to keep him as a real-life friend, I might have to, or I'm gonna get myself into hot water.

If you are really looking for Jesus, you're not going to find him on Facebook.

Log off and go to church.

"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them."


Dixie said...

I honestly don't know how to think about such things. I know that the people who say them really think their position is most loving and therefore most right but I guess such love can be liken to the love of a parent who doesn't discipline because discipline hurts. In the end such love isn't really loving at all because the child doesn't learn the things needed for life and forever struggles because of that.

So it is with Christianity that has lost its moorings. Love can be redefined into something it never was.

I still haven't gotten "into" Facebook yet. I hate being a geezer about it but I guess I am.

-C said...

You make an good analogy here, I think. I usually know what to think about such things, but I rarely know what to say. Most of the time I'm able to say nothing, but sometimes I'm not sure that's the best thing, either.

It's perhaps the better part of wisdom that you have taken your time with Facebook - I'm really re-thinking it altogether.

DebD said...

you said: I usually know what to think about such things, but I rarely know what to say. Most of the time I'm able to say nothing, but sometimes I'm not sure that's the best thing, either.Oh man, oh man...can I relate. I wish I could think on my feet because so often I feel like saying nothing can be just as bad as agreeing.

-C said...

Deb - that's exactly the problem.

William Weedon said...

I must confess: I am embarrassed that that was written by a Lutheran. And probably not just for the reason that seems obvious. I want to ask: where is Psalm 14:2,3???

s-p said...

Yep, if you can't keep your fingers off the keyboard maybe Facebook isn't for you. :) You don't HAVE to comment, but Facebook does put people in a social bind even though people who you've never met and wouldn't know from Adam if they stood in front of you want to be "friends" on a computer screen. hmmm... is there something goofy going on here? Maybe its just me...

-C said...

Steve -
So much with which to agree here.
I almost always keep my fingers off the keyboard, but as Deb said, at what point does saying nothing become complicit agreement? I would have said nothing and would have been far less troubled if it were a matter of a teaching which is not shared by both traditions.

The social bind is it's own weirdness. Why do I get an invitation to FAcebook friendship from someone who never had the time of day to speak to me in high school - or since - but now after 30 years wants a connection? And what does one do with that? I don't really get it.

But it's redeeming value is that it allows me to keep up with a few far away people that I love.

s-p said...

The 'net has created its own set of social issues for sure. Facebook (and blogging) is an exercise in ego for the most part (flags, number of friends,hits, stat counters etc., and the opportunity for an audience for my opinions on things that no one would ask me about in real life because they don't care what I think, really. (I include myself primarily in this indictment). And yet it does have true value in keeping "close" to people and having access to them other than snail mail and expensive long distance land-line phone calls (for those of us who remember that stuff.) It comes down to your tolerance level for pain and ability to "just say no", I guess. :)

s-p said...

Oh, BTW, I LOVE "Buddy Jesus", my kids got me a dashboard statue of him. That was one of George Carlin's shining moments.

-C said...

I get it - if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

The internet is bane and blessing for sure, about this we agree. It's just sometimes hard to tell when it's become so hot that it's time to get out of the kitchen, you know? ("It was perfectly delightful in here five minutes ago!"). It becomes too hot with one wrong turn.

What can I say about the image? Buddy Jesus was the first thing that came to mind. He's become an icon of sorts in his way, eh?

s-p said...

"Perfectly delightful 5 minutes ago.." LOL! If only they made the delete button bigger :)

-C said...

Or the log-off box!

-C said...

OK, his "status update" for today is, "He's a peach of a Savior." And I immediately enabled the hide feature, disabling my view of any further updates.

s-p said...

Good for you, as nice a person and well intentioned as he is, he's a peach of a theologian. :)