(Un)Happy Warriors.

Hey, Christian friends–can we talk just a minute about social media?

*sound of stampeding feet*  GUYS, GUYS, WAIT, COME BACK!!!

Look, y’all–I enjoy using social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, just like most of you do. I’ve developed many great interactions and (I think) some genuine friendships with people around the country through this medium. But it would serve us well to take a step back and think once again about how we’re using these gifts.

Maybe it’s the intensified political climate, maybe it’s because the issues of race relations and abortion are always topics of discussion in January, but as I’ve pulled up Twitter and Facebook over the last few weeks, I’m constantly seeing my online friends–solid, grounded, fruit-bearing believers–engaged in social-media slapfights with either believers of other tribes or with non-believers. Argumentation bleeds over into insult. Blocks and bans are celebrated with high-fives.

Here’s the danger, y’all: We can’t let gamesmanship get in the way of the Gospel. “Jerks for Jesus” are still just jerks. 

I’m not saying that you can’t engage and debate online in a healthy way. I’ve seen some of my friends do that also, and do it well, in recent weeks. I want to learn from those examples.

But some of us?  We just enjoy pickin’ fights.

bh-fight

In my experience, we Reformed (or Reformed-ish) folk seem to fall into this trap regularly, as we take our stand as warriors of orthodoxy and defenders against heresy.

I’ll be the first to affirm that doctrine matters, and truth is worth fighting for. However, we must be ever so careful that our love of truth is not overwhelmed by our love for the scrum and skirmish of ideological battle. We happy theological warriors can quickly become hardened and bitter. We turn our blades on each other. I’ve seen it happen.

My brothers, this should not be.

Confession: I do it, too. (I am Captain Buzzkill, after all.) As I grow more and more aware of this tendency in myself, I am trying to dial that down, to recognize when I’m growing pugilistic in my interactions. Because it’s not becoming of a follower of Jesus to sling snark on a constant basis.

And frankly, gang? It makes Twitter less fun, because it turns Twitter into a perpetual outrage party.  No thanks.

Maybe you think I’m off base. Maybe you think I’ve gone soft. You know what, brother, sister? I can handle that.

But, if you would indulge me, please take a few moments and think over these reminders of how we ought to engage other people (who despite their sin are still made in the image of God) on social media. Then, let’s go and do likewise:

Colossians 4:5-6  “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt,so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

I Peter 3:14-16 “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respecthaving a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”

Titus 3:1-8  “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all peopleFor we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.”

[All translations are ESV; all emphases mine.]

A Little Anti-Social.

Well, I’m back. I won’t bore you with the usual mea culpa‘s and excuses. I’ll just say the last couple weeks have been interesting. Not terrible, not traumatic. Just a little more hectic than usual.  But hey–life, right? 

And now I’m back to blog, and the only thing I can think of to right about at the moment is more marriage stuff. I’M SORRY, OKAY? IT’S KIND OF ON MY MIND LATELY. 32 DAYS. 😉  But it’s not ENTIRELY about marriage, so don’t zone out.  And I’ll try to post about something pop-culturey or controversial soon, to break up the monotony.

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So H. and I have been talking lately about social media. She sent me this video, which I recommend you watch, because it definitely makes you think. (Of course, most YT videos that make you think don’t result in follow-up actions, but at least you think for a second, yes?)

The question of “social media replacing personal interaction” is one that a lot of people have strong opinions on, but no one does anything about.  It’s one of those classic “we’ve got to DO SOMETHING” causes. It’s the type of thing we share on Facebook, but yet it never goes beyond the share or like or even comment, if we feel really strongly.

(By the way, anyone know what’s going on with Kony? No? Okay, nevermind.)

But that’s not the point of this story. That’s just a freebie for people who are bored with marriage talk.

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As I said, H. and I were discussing social media, particularly post-wedding. There’s a good chance we’re both gonna disappear from the FB and Twitter circles for a while afterward. (Haven’t decided what will happen here, but as little as I’m blogging lately, would anyone notice? I might as well just turn over the keys to Web and be done with it.)

Another one of the ideas we are kicking around is replacing our individual Facebook accounts with a joint account.

*Cue the groans from the single folks* 

I know some of you may be rolling your eyes, convinced we’ve just become another one of those couples so into each other that their identities and FB accounts are intertwined. Allow me to pre-emptively address some of the criticisms of this idea.

  • First, give me some credit here. I’ve worked very hard to make sure the focus of my life is not solely my upcoming wedding. (32 days, y’all.)  But seriously. There’s more to our lives than this marriage, but it IS a big deal, so cut us a little slack.
  • Second, if you’re concerned that a joint FB account is proof of lost identity, you put WAY too much stock in what a FB account means.  Facebook is the highlight reel. Facebook is not real life. Facebook is a snapshot. (I think we all need to repeat this to ourselves daily.) Besides, we’ve already combined our Netflix accounts. You wanna talk about COMMITMENT…?
  • Third, it was my idea, not hers. I’ve seen this happen, where one distrustful partner forces the other to share the FB account. That’s not the case. I mentioned, a few months back, that I could see the benefit of having a combined FB account, in terms of the “living above reproach” idea. I don’t need to keep secrets from my wife. To her, I want to be as open and transparent as I can be to any living person. So what’s the big deal?

All that said, I wanted to throw this out to you, the mostly-silent 4DB community: Joining FB accounts when you get married–good idea or bad idea, and why?