My wife was looking at Facebook the other night and made what I thought was a very insightful comment. She said something like:
I wish these people with half naked pictures of themselves and cursing in every status would take “Christian” out of their religious views.
I think she has a point.
In some cases – by no means all, but some – FB gives a striking example of how those that claim Christ fail to live up to His standards. Make that, fail to even try to live up to His standards. Of course, the problem isn’t FB – it is rooted in our hearts, in our attitudes toward serving Christ.
But the whole thing has got me thinking. What, if anything, is the value in Facebook for Christians anyway? It seems to me that there are some serious issues to think about for Christians who want to use FB, or any social media for that matter. So I’m going to explore them. I’ll be thinking out loud about social media for the next few days – mainly FB since I use that one probably most often. (Which leads into the necessary disclaimer that I do use social media… but I don’t want to fall into the trap of not thinking about it.)
In any case, this is what I’m on for now. Thoughts?
By now, most will have heard of the stunning events of this past weekend. The first shots were heard on Friday, and Kimwandae Walker’s light was extinguished – sadly, in sight of his children. Things have gone even further since then. Bermudians woke up on Sunday morning, some intent on celebrating the resurrection of Christ, but were saddened and vexed that the heinousness of Friday’s crime had done nothing to sober those who are seemingly drunk on the wine of violence. Overnight there had been more disruption at the RAA club, with one young man being hospitalized for gunshot wounds, and one for stabbing. As if that had not been enough, Sunday night saw even more injuries, with a teenage girl and another man both being wounded from apparently indiscriminate gunfire at Western Stars.
This is insane.
After the shooting on Good Friday, Jonathan Starling at Catch A Fire suggested a good Easter metaphor. Sadly, with multiple incidents on Sunday, it’s easy to have missed it.
I’d like to suggest a slightly different parallel.
Yesterday, because of Easter, churches throughout Bermuda and around the world saw faces that they hadn’t seen in a long time. These long-absent faces are the result of a view of Christianity that places special emphasis on certain days. There is nothing wrong with elevating certain days, per se, but the true impact of Christ’s religion is seen in living out that religion day in and day out. By the same token, our involvement in our community can’t be limited to the times when it seems to be absolutely necessary.
It is all good for us to stand up and add our voices to the concern and outrage that is to be expected from good-minded people when crimes like this take place. Let’s continue to attend the rallies and the marches; let’s continue to express our outrage through Facebook, Twitter, letters to the Editor, etc. But if our community is to withstand this tidal wave of violence, then we as individual members of that community need to live it out daily.
Negatively, it means refusing to participate in anything that would lead to this violence. It means refusing to tacitly or openly endorse violence by harboring those that are known to have perpetrated crimes against our society. It means refusing to accept disrespect from children, and refusing to set an example of disrespect in front of them. And it definitely means not bad-mouthing the government and the police. (Keep reading.)
Positively, that means talking to our children and teaching them to understand the difference between right and wrong. It means reaching out to the underprivileged and disenfranchised and helping them to fully participate in the rights and responsibilities of our society. It means sharing information with the proper authorities when these outbursts of violence occur. It means giving tangible help in terms of security and support for those that are brave enough to come forward with information. It means partnering with the powers that be to combat the problem. It means mentoring, coaching, tutoring, volunteering, and generally being a productive member of the community.
And it means refusing to fall into the trap of only rising to the occasion on certain days, whether good or bad. Fighting this issue of violence is a task for the entire community – all day, every day.
Just uploaded my first video…
Description – this was preached at the Austin Street church of Christ in Levelland, Texas, April 4 2010.
This was the first time that I’ve preached for an actual church in almost a year. I was a bit nervous, but as always I pray that God can use my efforts.
This is the first time I’ve tried to upload a video as well, so hopefully I get that right the first time.
Yet another family is shattered tonight by the loss of one of our young men to the senselessness of gunplay. Bermuda looks back on the increase of violence over the last decade, the last year, the last month… and she weeps.
Or does she?
Pulling our eyes from the harsh scene of escalation, we reluctantly survey the current landscape, and we marvel. Our community, so quick to meet any challenge and so resilient in the face of adversity, is characterized by apparent indifference and impotent fear in the face of this most recent and pressing internal crisis. Rather than allowing our courage to climb to new heights in order to combat the ever rising violence, we instead are plumbing depths of apathy.
As the song says…
Our eyes are dry
Our faith is old
Our hearts are hard
Our prayers are cold
We ask – What will it take?
What will it take for our young men to realize the foolishness of throwing away their own lives, and heartlessly destroying the lives of others, for nothing?
What will it take for our mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, cousins and friends, to refuse to shelter and blindly support those that are tearing apart our community and endangering even the innocent?
What will it take for all of us to work together to remedy the social and political ills that have driven our young men and their families to this point of desperation, however unjustified?
WHAT WILL IT TAKE???
Sadly, we listen to the voice of experience and history as she whispers in our ear. We tenaciously hold onto the hope that she is wrong, even as we begin to acknowledge to ourselves the grim reality of what she says to us.
We pray to God that we will be spared the desperate times that always seem to lead to desperate measures. We pray that we will not see our young children, our dedicated mothers, our aged parents, mown down by gunfire before we are moved to action. We pray that communities will not be forced to the brink of destruction before determining to stand up and speak out.
My condolences to the family and friends of Kimwandae Walker, and all those who have lost loved ones to this senselessness.
As you know, Bridget and I are planning to go to Zambia this summer…
The amount of preparation for a trip like this is staggering, even when you’re only going for a short period of time. But by the grace of God, we’re getting it all done.
I’m pretty much decided on what I’ll be teaching, and we are working out the things that we’ll be seeing and doing when we are there. I am looking forward to being in a completely different environment – Bermuda is heavily influenced by North America, so our move to Lubbock is not all that much of a culture shock. Not that I’m looking for culture shock, but I think the experience of going to Zambia will be a little different from anything I’ve experienced before.
Our support raising is coming along. Our friends and families have been very supportive, and we can only thank God for the love that people continue to show us.
Please continue praying for us, and God bless.