The Facebook Effect

One World

Toward a Civilization of Love

You may have seen the video linked to the image in this post on Facebook. Some of you will “like” the video and yet continue to post on your own timelines about how the social safety nets in this country are stealing the food out of your own mouths.

Facebook is becoming a festering pot of hate sprinkled with happy thoughts for the day spaced like commercial breaks between reams of sponsored content for products you do not need.

That said, Facebook is not the root of all evil.  It serves the purpose of keeping us connected with loved ones and friends from the past who we have lost track of over time. I enjoy reading posts from actual people I know containing cute pics of their pets, their weddings, the new baby, and even a shot of what they had to eat tonight.  I want to know if someone has experienced a loss in the family. Facebook helps us keep in touch. And its easier than sending a letter when a stamp costs half a buck and takes a week to get across country.

What disturbs me is the preponderance of posts that seem to want me to support an attitude of hate and prejudice.  And the thing that disturbs me most is that these posts are coming from Christians.

All citizens of the independent or party-affiliated kind who push for votes to abolish ways to support the “have nots” might learn from this video that they are on the precipice of being one of “them.” This congress, both sides of the aisle, and our fellow citizens, are laboring to protect what is theirs — our rights vs everyone else’s rights. My beliefs vs your beliefs.

The word “tolerance” is fading from our collective vocabulary. We don’t have to become a socialist state to have a change of heart about how to even out the playing field so that everyone has enough.

How much is enough? Apparently, enough has no limits.  Its whatever I want to have, take, withhold, so that I am satiated — without regard for others who have no power to grab it all for themselves.  That is their problem, something they created for themselves. Society as a whole played no part.

Our consumer-driven society has killed our community and has hardened our hearts to the needs of others. Religious people of all persuasions have succumbed to this, despite the teachings of their faith.

No one religion is to blame for what ails this country. The finger pointing needs to be re-directed inward, to our hearts, and to allow the Spirit to do the work of change in each one of us. That is the only “me first” that we should pursue — “Spirit of the Living God, Fall Afresh on Me.”  Next time you sing this, think about what it means: Spirit, we pray you would change US is the point of this hymn.  Change ME. It acknowledges that change starts with me, and that it takes a force outside of me to make it happen in my heart so that I can be a force for change in the world.

If only Facebook were a place where Christians led the pack in posting positive messages that lifted up instead of cut down. What if, when you posted on Facebook, you first prayed the prayer of St Francis – “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”  What if, before you posted on Facebook, you were thoughtful about the impact your words and images would have on creating ties and not barriers to understanding and peace?

Glenn Frey has a song “I’ve Got Mine” that speaks to this attitude and it was released during the first Bush administration. The me-first attitude has only gotten worse since then.

Friends, can we be the force for good in this world?  Can we stop creating divisions and thinking — quite falsely — that we are better than everyone else on this planet?  Jesus said, if you want to be great in my kingdom, be a servant.  There is no lack of ways to be of service in this world.  But there are a lack of voices calling for an attitude of service and humility.    Facebook could be a tool for positive change.

We have succumbed to the pressure to post.  Let me ask you this: WWJP-What would Jesus post?  It would not be without its rebukes — neither would it be “hate your enemy and do evil to those who persecute you.”


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