For the past several years, I “gave up” Facebook” in an attempt to take a “lead me not into temptation” approach to Lent. I figured that there were so many opportunities for me to violate the whole “judging” thing that better to just avoid that all together. But this year, I stayed on.
I was on a bit more than usual yesterday trying to gather resources for the season for my parish and I was appalled at what I was seeing on many “religious” sites. Why are people who claim to be “religious” so drawn to be nasty? I have noticed throughout the years that there are only a couple of sites who actually monitor comments. My position on this is that you should not have a Facebook site if you cannot control it. If you call yourself a “Christian resource,” then you are responsible for controlling the comments to some extent. I’ll use Fr. James Martin, SJ’s Facebook to illustrate my point, he has set a standard of charitable discourse that he has had to diligently protect. It is work for him for sure, but it is necessary work. Because while everyone has a right to express their opinion, these pages also have a responsibility to uphold the Christian standard of discourse.
So last night, I did something different from logging out permanently from my account for the next six weeks. I went through and “un-followed” all of the sites and people who don’t follow a basic rule of generosity. I went with a theory of less is more. Less interaction with these sites that I feel should behave better and I get more peace of mind. One site asked, “But why?” but then gave me no place to tell them! LOL! (Do you really want to know????) Some will say, well, we don’t have the staff. Well, hire me! 😀
But then there is also my part in all of this. Why do I even read the comments?? I know someone in there is going to send me! Clearly, I am drawn to this type of exchange too. But I don’t want to be. It is a weakness in my character and I want it gone. I don’t want to be at battle with a self-righteous position. I don’t like this trait in my personality.
This is why I love Lent.
Lent makes me sit down and look deeply at what does and does not serve me or anyone. Taking part in any of these conversations (especially bearing in mind how many paid trolls are out there) serves NO ONE. Especially me. But most importantly, I cannot fully serve God if I am still giving over to my most base responses. So, even though, or rather especially because, we are in an election year (I feel like we are in a terminal state of electing) it is time to harness that which does not serve. It’s time to disengage from the unimportant and focus on what needs attention.
For a long while now I have really tried to use the guideline:
Is it kind?
Is it true?
Is it necessary?
I think, now perhaps more than ever, when we have candidates and media appealing to our most base levels, it is imperative that we use these guidelines. It is important to remember that the growing generation is taking a cue from us on how we respond to each other. I know it has to start with me if I want my daughters to hold themselves to a higher standard. So I will try.
But those are just my thoughts! I’d love to hear yours. I moderate all comments. 😀