So I have to say goodbye to Facebook.
It culminated over the weekend, as yet another post from a good friend made my blood boil to the point I had to respond. My better half (my wife) warned, “I’d leave it alone if I were you.” But of course, I couldn’t. Damage done. Rant posted. War of words continued over private message, and because of my anger, I probably lost a friend.
As I sit here and think about my anger and the aftermath, I realize there is something troubling about the rhetoric on Facebook these days. It’s not just about sharing articles and information; it’s also accompanied by a suggestive narrative said in the name of “proclaiming justice” or “being prophetic” or “exposing the truth” or “calling out/naming sin.” The rhetoric, however, is a toxic one; it’s one without a whole lot of grace – especially for the other. Apparently shaming is a justifiable way of enacting social, institutional change…..and a change of the heart.
And I just can’t buy into that.
For my friend, and others like him, there needs to be a higher sense of responsibility and accountability for what they say. If you proclaim justice, for example – or at least the notion of Christian justice – it needs to be done with grace and a commitment to the other. “Love your enemies” wasn’t just some cute thing that Jesus said. He actually meant it, literally.
But, as I sit here and point the finger, I realize I have three others pointing back at me. I realize that well, shit, I’m just as if not more guilty of saying things irresponsibly, not holding myself accountable. So that’s why I’m saying goodbye to Facebook – because of my own sinfulness, I need to take a step back and figure out a better way. I’d even say it’s vital – because it’s affecting me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I have to find a way to change my own rhetoric, for my own sake.
And that brings me to the other reason I’m saying goodbye to Facebook: I need to quiet my mind from the endless cackle of toxic voices. I need to distance myself from the constant stream of venom that is the “justice” narrative in our country. I need to take the time to listen – to others, to myself, and above all, to God. I need to do this because I need to find a Third Way beyond the polarizing either/or categories that define our society and life these days. Maybe instead of being the thundering prophet who speaks from on high, I need to simply strive to be a better man. Maybe instead of always voicing what God is speaking into our issues and realities, I need to actually listen to what God has to say.
I need to look for this Third Way – God’s Way of how Grace redefines the ways we talk about and deal with the issues and realities of our world.
So goodbye Facebook….for now. I don’t know when I’ll be back. Some of my friends say the social media world still needs a good Lutheran Honeybadger…..but while Jesus loves this ass, being an ass all the time isn’t what God wants either.
In the meantime, you should probably call/email/text if you need a little Honeybadger humor in your life. That, I can do.