Monday, February 24, 2014

Truth Be Told

On Facebook, what is the proper etiquette for dealing with a post from a friend when he or she says something you disagree with? Is Facebook a proper place to dialogue or is it just a waste of time?  

I have friends/family who've deleted their Facebook accounts. I have friends/family who just like and share recipes (which is cool because I have made some decent meals from same). I have family/friends who post pictures of their lives and who like and comment on same all up and down their timelines. I have friends/family who post music links (awesome). And I have friends/family who post nothing but memes and OMG HAVE YOU SEEN THIS *&;#%$ videos and links. And I have a lot of friends/family who have Facebook but who never post, never like, never link, never comment. Maybe they signed up and never returned. I just don't know.

For better or worse, I've done a little of it all.

But I can't get on FB anymore without seeing something like this:

When you see something like this pop up in your FB timeline, what do you do? Is it better to just ignore? Is it troll behavior to respond? Mature to ignore? Vanity to respond? And does anybody really care anyway?

What kind of Christian posts such a meme?

What kind of person responds?

One of my best friends from high school posted this particular meme. She reached out to me less than a month ago to reconnect after many years via Facebook. But we didn't just connect there, we exchanged numbers and actually spoke to one another, catching up for several hours over phone calls. We were open and honest, laughing over remembered troublemaking and crying over familial losses. She shared her recent faith experiences and belief in Christ and I echoed my own.

I was also upfront about my family, our daughter, myself. In other words - it was an opportunity to "come out" again.  'Opportunity' connotes something positive, fun, lucky, favorable. Sometimes coming out involves those things. Other times, it does not (watching Ellen Page's hand/arm gesture and hearing the stress in her voice during her coming out speech (in front of a hugely supportive audience, no less) may give you a sense of the emotions people can experience when they come out. And when you're not Ellen or Elton John, you usually don't get to just 'come out' one time in your life and be done with it. You get to come out many times, under many different circumstances).

I was honest with her because I didn't want her to be uncomfortable or surprised. I wanted her to be able to choose to 'unfriend' if necessary, no hard feelings.

But she didn't unfriend. And she's liked photos of my family and recipe links I've shared and crappy song links I've forced on the world via my timeline and I've done the same in return.

And so when she wrote #truthbetold and linked to the meme, it automatically posted to my timeline. Because we're friends. I read it and thought on it and before I knew it, my fingers were flying:
Is there a Christian meme #truthbetold repository that I can go to, to get one of these for my page? I want to replace "homosexuality" with any one of the 10 Commandments (actually, no, let's just make 10 new memes, one for each Commandment!) 
That way I can post one that says:

"I am a Christian. I believe the Bible. I do not support lying or "bearing false witness against your neighbor" (by way of example, only...though we know the meme will get more traction if it's weighted to the "sin du jour").
Yes, we are still friends. No, I am not judging you. No, I am not condemning you to hell. No, I will not let anyone bully you (even though that's kind of what I'm doing by posting this meme).

But realize that name-calling and stereotyping those of us who stand for what we believe is exactly what you don't want done to you. [and that kind of gives me pause. Because...well, by making a meme about a sin, regardless of what sin we're 'meme-ing', are we really 'standing up for what we believe in'? If so, how are we really doing that? When did pointing out what we perceive to be the sin of our brother or sister become an opportunity to finger point, and cherry pick (let's be honest), the sin of our neighbor? I mean, isn't the meme really just an opportunity to ask, "hey can I remove that splinter from your eye?"]
We have the right to speak what we believe, same as you have a right to speak what you believe."
Being Christian is to be name-called. Persecuted. Apart. In this world but not of it. Above it. Better than it. Because the One who is in you is greater than...any damn #truthbetoldmeme.
I was angry. My hands were shaking. I hesitated. Re-read what I wrote. Said to myself, don't send this...nobody cares...responding is so doesn't help sound like such a gay, you sound like a real asshole...also why and how do you think you can talk about faith, God, Christianity? Selected all the text. Hovered over the delete button. And, instead, pressed send.

And she liked that, too.

I don't think I understand Facebook anymore, you guys.

I don't know if I understand Christianity anymore, either.



  1. I'm not sure if I'm the right person to answer this. I'm not religious, and I don't tolerate discriminatory statements on my social media feeds. If I see it, that person is gone. I'm careful about who I get close to (or try to be), and those people would never say things that are hateful.

    In my opinion, a person can't say, "I don't believe it your marriage" because that also means "I don't believe in your love." It means they don't give respect to the most important partnership in your life. Laying it on religion's doorstep is a cop-out, IMO.

    I don't believe it's trolling to respond. This person has tried to justify the disrespect of WHO YOU ARE, and that is personal. You have every right to and should respond. I'm glad you responded from the heart. It's who you are and why I have so much respect for you. For her to simply disregard your entire heartfelt response with a "like" is disingenuous. Is that a friend you want in your life?

    I can't speak to your troubles with Christianity. When I found Christianity to be hypocritical in elementary school, I walked away from it as soon as I could. But I had the support of my family, most of whom also walked away. Your struggle is deeper, more personal, and not something you're willing to give up on. I don't blame you and actually admire you greatly for wanting to make it work. And I hope that you do. But with "friends" who tell you that who you are is inherently wrong is not helpful.


    1. Love you, Jen.

      I get mad at what I'm seeing and then I get mad at myself for putting any emotion into it because in the grand scheme of things it's really dumb. I mean really...just a waste of energy, period. I need to get some new hobbies, that's for sure.

      I think what I'm starting to see/feel is that my writing about things, whether on FB, Twitter, here, in a journal, or wherever, is just another way for me to avoid actually dealing with whatever it is I'm angry enough to be writing about. Because that is going to require action. What kind of action, I don't know yet. But maybe I need to be quiet a little bit and start sorting that out.

      I'm glad you responded. Made me think. And - I MISS YOU.

    2. I miss you, too! If you need an ear, I'm always here. I'll also rhyme, if you have the time. :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Also let me add a virtual hug. Fighting for what is right is always a prideful activity.

    2. Laoch, I always love your responses (so don't censor yourself, please! I might learn something!). I do need to tone it down, though.

  3. There was a time in my life when, speaking about religious matters, my hands shook, my throat tightened, and I was sure I'd be shown up as an idiot were I to voice my next thought in the public sphere. But then the Holy Spirit spoke through me, for whatever Her purpose.

    That very rarely happens to me anymore, so don't knock it kiddo.

    Anyway: Happy Black Friday!


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