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A year ago, our church had a Facebook page (group) that was started by some of the yutes in the church. Funny, I was unable to join because Facebook for Blackberry was pretty limiting and wouldn’t allow me to do it from my phone. (We didn’t have any regular internet access at the time.) Well, that group disbanded- disappeared without a leader to help them along.
A few weeks ago, one of the yutes was asking about starting a Facebook group for our church. I doubted The Pastor would do it, but waited to see what would come of it. After finding the previous group has gone away, he decided to begin anew. So, our church now has a Facebook page.
The Pastor puts silly things up, like adding events for things like Advent services. (Silly, Pastor!) We also discuss and joke with one another about various topics. (Though my comment about Narnian music was not a joke- that is what I prefer!) It is a goofy little way for us to stay connected and get the word out about things. (Though they are usually repeated through the eloquent e-mails from The Pastor, for those that choose not to participate in Facebook.)
Recently (or possibly not so recently, time is a bit foggy to me these days) a friend wrote a blog post about a run in with a Facebook “friend.” I’d be polite and link to the mentioned post if our computer was not still sitting in the computer hospital awaiting its hard drive transplant. Posting from your cell phone definitely has its limits. Speaking of which, I do promise pictures whenever the transplant is complete and our computer is back in good health. So, I have been chatting to the Pastor about this for some time and thought I’d finally let my true Facebook colors show. Although I wouldn’t do it on Facebook for fear I might offend a “friend.”
First, I’ll preface all this with my warm and fuzzy thought about THE social networking site. It is great for keeping up with family and real friends. Being the mom of 3, I do not have the time or solitude to call and talk to my friends and family that are spread out all over the country. I also like that I get a real glimpse of people like I haven’t seen them before. I also enjoy seeing pictures of friends from high school and knowing what they are up to now. Although, I’ll be the first to admit I had very few friends in high school and didn’t like the very short time I spent there. It would have killed me to spend 4 years there like the rest of them! So, I do appreciate the bendita Facebook offers, which is why I participate in the network. I do like it. I check up on folks a couple times a day, usually. In fact, you are more likely to contact me via Facebook than by calling my cell. Really.
Now, there are a few things about Facebook that I think are silly. One is that I feel very obligated to accept every friend request. Seriously, I have friends on Facebook I have never met- some I’d prefer to keep it that way. You just can’t reject a friend request without it looking like you’re mean or have something to hide or are snotty or something. Really, I’m just anti-social. Yep. Even virtually, I’m a bit anti-social. These requests only bother me at the initial request when I must hit the “accept” button though I have no intention of having any interaction with the person. And then they bother me when the person becomes overly involved with me on my Facebook. I know, I know, that is what the site is for. That doesn’t mean a like it.
Two is that things get passed around like people really care, when I know they do not. If you know me, you know that I am annoyed by phoney concern. It drives me nuts when someone asks how I am repeatedly or clearly does not listen to my response. It drives me crazy when someone wants information about me or my family for gossip rights only (though typically guised as a prayer request). It upsets me when information I post on Facebook (even in the form a a request for prayer from my friends) starts circulating through the Facebook (and real) world. Mind you, those that are my “friends” on Facebook (and we’ve established that doesn’t take much) were already told of the situation or prayer request. Why would anyone feel it necessary to repost it on their Facebook for their friends? Seriously obnoxious. Even more obnoxious is the fact that I can do nothing about it. It sounds too mean to request that a prayer chain mail on your behalf be stopped. It sounds un-Christian-like to request someone remove you from their prayer list. Really, the issue is that I would love prayer. I have no problems with anyone offering prayers for me or my family. However, it seems to be a “holier than thou” competition with online prayer lists and prayer e-mails. None of it seems genuine at all, it all seems gossipy or prideful. On the occasion that someone is sincere about sharing my problems and taking them to others in prayer, they always ask me first. And that is fine, even welcomed, by me. But our vast social networking opens up the door for spiritual trespassing like never before.
That leads me to complaint number three. The point of Facebook is to have interaction with those you know- friends, family, exes, whatever. Why do people feel it necessary to evangelize their Facebook friends. Now, let me be clear. There is a difference in sharing the goodness God is showing you or the blessings He has given you and trying to evangelize your Facebook friends. We thought cold calls on door steps were bad. This is terrible. You don’t have enough concern to invest or contact someone personally to share your heart with them. Instead, you try for mass conversion of your Facebook friends? How on earth is that going to be effective for anyone? It turns me off and I’m one of you (follower of Christ, that is). I’ll venture that anyone on your friends list that is not a Christian is certainly not any closer to becoming one by reading your hell fire and brimstone status updates.
I’ll leave it at that since I’m sure I have crossed the line of what a pastor’s wife is supposed to say and think in this post.