Monday, May 10, 2010

Three Reasons Christians Should be on Facebook!

I should first apologize for how long it has been since I wrote anything on this blog and thank those of you who check in to see if there is any update. I am sorry. Thank you. But I want to quickly move to the topic that led me to break my writing fast. I was playing on facebook, which I do a lot these days, and in the middle of some playful discourse my brother threw in this quote "Social-networking is the opiate of the procrastinator." What? Where did that come from? And ouch! It is not hard for me to see the truth in that. Actually, it may just be the more recent opiate of the procrastinator. Other computer applications, video games, television, reading, and sitting on the porch visiting are just a few opiates folks have used for years to procrastinate without conscientiously acknowledging the practice. So, early in this post I admit that I surf facebook more than what leads to optimal use of my time. Can you ever forgive me? And it is easy to see the "opiate" characteristics because the "quick and easy" posts of witty comments here and there are much easier than composing a string of thoughts that will cause someone to take time to read and think. And that friends is part of the reason I have not been here, in the blogosphere for a long time. You (because only intelligent, inquisitive readers would be here to begin with) are probably asking by now, "Roxy, if you admit to spending too much time on facebook and procrastinating the completion of chores because of it, why would you tease us with a title like this?" Hey, that is a good question. I am glad you asked.

Reason #1 that Christians should be on facebook--Jesus said we should.

Stop laughing. I'm serious. Sure, He never said "Thou shalt be on facebook and update thy status every time you contemplate a meal." But he did say we should build relationships. In fact, when asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus replied that it is to "love God with all your heart, soul, and mind." He quickly added that the second greatest commandment is "love your neighbor as yourself". Then he went on to say that the two were connected in a way that we can not really obey one without the obeying the other. That is not all he said. He went on to say ALL the commandments, laws, and instructions from the prophets are just subsets of these two intertwined instructions. How does that translate to being on facebook? When we read of the conversation Jesus had with a woman who was living a lifestyle she knew was wrong, where did that take place? At the well. Sure, there is a practical reason for going to a well but Jesus had already shown that water was not a driving force for him. He went there because that is where he knew he would meet someone in need of direction and a true friend. When he wanted to teach and encourage, he often went to the places where he would encounter people. Sure, there came a time that he was so popular that he could just go out on a hillside and folks would gather to hear what he had to say. But that was after he had lots of "friends" or followers. Yep, I am claiming that Jesus was a social-networker. And that he insisted we become the same.

Reason #2 that Christians should be on facebook--Jesus said we should.

Whoa, don't get so upset. Yes it SOUNDS like the same as reason #1, but there is a difference. The difference is when and how he said it. This teaching reminds me of the time Jesus came into a village and a woman named Martha made the effort to meet him and invite him to her house. Martha was very busy with chores and probably preparing a nice meal while her sister Mary just sat and talked with Jesus. Mary wasn't getting anything done. Martha asked Jesus to get onto Mary for goofing off and tell her to help with the important chores. I bet she was shocked at his reply. He said "Martha, Martha you are worried and troubled about many things. Only one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." What? Jesus said visiting and getting acquainted is more important than getting chores done? Look it up. Luke 10:38-42.

Reason 3# that Christians should be on facebook--Jesus said we should.

I did not surprise you this time did I? That is why I should visit here more often--only the astute reader hangs out here. Why it this "we should" different from the first two? Well, for one this instruction comes indirectly from Jesus via James and others. The James who wrote the book bearing his name is likely the brother of Jesus. Can you imagine coming to grips with the idea that your brother is actually your half-brother who is part Deity and was involved in creation of the universe? That could cause some serious sibling rivalry. And it seems that James and the rest of the family did not fully accept who Jesus was until he died. And then lived again. After all that and some serious re-thinking by James, he began to share the message that his brother had been attempting to communicate. Part of this is in James 4:13-15 where he tells how most operate. He describes capitalism in broad terms and how people plan to buy, sell, and make a profit. While he does not condemn that, he goes on to say that life is short--like a morning fog that appears a little while and then disappears. The message seems to be that work has its place, but the routine of chasing an income can become the focus more that pursuing the relationships that are more important. Don't get me wrong. Plenty of scriptures teach us to work to provide for ourselves and have enough to help others. But the purpose of work, the purpose of life is to grow our relationship with God and with other people.

Facebook can be a colossal waste of time and I am often guilty of spending too much time there. I am working on doing better. But I am a little defensive also because I have been able to encourage and be encouraged both through quick interactions on facebook and even more through face-to-face, life changing conversations that have grown out of connections on facebook. Those of you who have been part of these conversations know who you are. I appreciate you. Even when I was the encourager, I was also the encouragee. Yes, part of "loving others like you love yourself" means doing the chore so your spouse, family, friend does not have to. And I have laundry going while I write this (should I update my status?). Still, I become more and more convinced that all we can do to build and strengthen our relationships should be done. Even if the floors are dirty. Floors are temporary. People are forever.


Tammy said...

AMEN! thanks for this.

Anonymous said...

You go, Babe!!! AMEN!!! Social networking IS extremely important to our Christian walk of life!!!

kwishum said...

OK, OK. I'm sorry about the opiate comment. I was trying to build a relationship with you :)

Good thoughts and I agree. I suppose the key, as with many things, is balance.

Roxy Wishum said...

Awww, Keith, don't give up so easily. You already know that debate is vital to all my relationships. I need to write that post about "fierce conversations". I just keep putting it off because I am playing on Facebook.

War Eagle Girl said...

yes, look at all the prayer requests being put on facebook because they know how fast others will see it and look at all these prayers being answered!

ian said...

Thank you! You often write very interesting articles. You improved my mood.

Laura said...

Well, I can't say I totally agree with your reasons. For example, the reason Jesus said Martha chose the better part was because she had come to listen to HIM speak. So no, he was not saying that socializing is more important than chores. He was saying that being with Him is more important than chores.
Also, loving your neighbour can be done in many ways...not just on facebook. Facebook can easily turn into a "look at me" fest if you're not careful, which is not loving's loving yourself.
I do agree that Christians can use facebook as a good tool, but it is not extremely important. Someone who is not on any social networking sites could still be loving their neighbour more actively and creating meaningful social connections more than one who IS on facebook. So facebook can be used in a healthy relationships and setting an example as a Christian, but it isn't a must. And no, Jesus did not say we should be on Facebook. So it's best not to claim that way.

Good points, but I can't say I agree. I think Facebook can be a very valuable tool in a Christian's witness...but it can also be very destructive. Sometimes it becomes more about building many shallow relationships than truly meaningful relationships.