I may be in the minority opinion on this, but it seems to me that what we call social media is misnamed. To be social media, one might think that whatever that media are, they should have the effect of enhancing our connectivity and deepening our relationships, not making ourselves and our relationship more disconnected and shallow. Unfortunately, that is what appears to be true and it is getting ugly. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to name a few, have become battlegrounds to sharing propaganda, lies, smears, and whatever else might be useful for attacking and diminishing others. The shouting and vitriol, the hyperbole, the partisanship, and the celebrity culture that characterize our 24 hours “news” have infected our social media. Contrary to the headlines, that particular opinion piece by some partisan with weak “facts” did not “completely destroy” or “eviscerate” anything or anyone. So, hold that endzone victory dance and don’t click that like or share button. Would it not be better for people to sit down together and have civil face-to-face conversations about public issues and leave social media for videos of cute animals and vacation photos? I think we made some progress in the past breaking down walls that separated us. Much of that came through direct encounters, face-toface meetings, and efforts at integrating people who were different. I guess it is both harder to be ugly to others when you are looking into their eyes and harder to maintain stereotypes and prejudices when you find out that you are not so different after all. But, when we retreat into social media and we do not have to deal directly with others, we seem to forget our better selves and our manners, and it becomes just too easy to demean others and ourselves. Imagine what things might have been like had social media been around in the first century. Internet memes questioning Jesus’ parentage, a tweet from Caiaphas about how he completely destroyed Jesus one night, and Facebook posts about heartless Pharisees might have been common but not the worst of it. I wonder what Jesus would have Tweeted. No, I don’t. “Love your enemies” “Break bread and remember” #Savior #Yahweh1 #Princeofpeace #Lovewins. If we really are people who claim to be Christian, we should be that everywhere. Even on social media. While I can imagine Jesus posting lots of selfies, like with lepers and demoniacs and Cleveland Browns fans, I cannot imagine him abusing others to make his point or responding unlovingly to someone else’s bad information. He met with people where they were, shared a meal with them, and taught some of them God’s way of loving all. For those who got it, they got it. And those who did not, he loved them too. Be like Jesus and let a shared meal, a glass of wine, or a cup of coffee be the social media that connects us the way he connected with people.
Grace and peace,