If you have had a Facebook profile for years, you may remember the early days. Those were the days we were joing in droves. We all wanted to reconnect with distant family and friends. We were realizing why all the teenagers had MySpace accounts.
Then came the season of dialogue. When those long lost connections began to uncover differences. Opionions and comments became long dialogues. One person expressed an opinion, another gave a rebuttal; another added a comment, and on it went. By and large, the "conversations" were respectful, careful, as earnestly persuasive as possible.
Have you noticed how that has changed? Yup, me too.
I presumed that this was the result of a shift in human behavior. I thought, we as a society were becoming more impolite. I mean, look at our president! While our manners might be deteriorating, the real explanation is the design methods of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms. Social media is designed to 'bait us' into giving our time so that we can be manipulated to buy. And it's not just objects they want us to consume, it's ideas.
The more abrasive the interactions, the more algorythmic attention is given. If you open Facebook news and enter a word like 'climate', what your feed will give you is contingent on where you are in the country.
The more confrontational and heated, sexy and attractive, self-centered and opinionated a post is, the more we are biologically designed to fall into the rabbit hole of engaging it.
The Social Dilemma, is a recently released documentary about this issue. Over 10 former social media executives talked about their concerns. After watching it, I decided to delete my Facebook profile. It felt like what I needed to do. I want to strongly message my 1,300 "friends" that I have real concerns about this platform. And as a Christian, you should too. I'm not saying you should also delete it all. But learn more, pray more, and make your own decision.
Jesus modeled for us a way of being together that fostered genuine inclusion. As a Jesus follower, I want to be 100% giving my time for what moves us toward what is good, true, and gracious for our world. Until social media is reformed to stop imperiling democracy, truth, and societal integrity, I want little part of it. Join me in learning more and evaluating what your faith calls you to do.
-- Pastor Rebecca
The Social Dilemma
How the Facebook Newsfeed Works (The guy featured in this FB created video is also in the documentary)
"What Facebook did to American Democracy" Atlantic Monthly Article
In an NPR interview, the chief of police of Seattle, Carmen Best, she said the following: "We all want the same thing. We want peace in our streets and we want everyone to be treated equally under the law."
Even though it we have so much in common as Americans, we have drawn lines in the sand; standing in opposition to each other. Black Lives Matter against the Police; Pro-Choice against Pro-Life; Republican against Democrat; Mask-wearing Science Advocates against Non Mask Wearers Fearing a Loss of Liberty.
Peter Marty, editor of The Christian Century, reminds us that as Christians we have some very important tools in our tool box for the polarities we perceive all around us.
He suggests we put down our defensiveness. As he puts it "claw marks don't set you free". We must open ourselves up enough that we can re-examine our personal assumptions and perspectives. If we are willing to listen and learn, we will learn - especially from those we fear or distrust. Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
He also encourages us to stop being brittle and reactive. Jesus invites us to take up our cross - essentially that means, embrace the very thing that scares the hell out of you. Face it, face yourself, and allow the grace and power of God to bring resurrection -- that's God's business.
This week, we have seen so much death. We have grieved the news of protesters killed, police killed. We are a nation living under the shadow of death. But more importantly, we are members of the kingdom of God. And that hope will never be extinguished by death. We are called to be peacemakers. May we answer the call.
I WONDER HOW THEY SEE ME
by Jeff Roorda
I wonder how they see me
Behind this shiny shield.
Do they see me for the man I am
My truest self revealed?
Do they see my blemishes and warts
The things I try to hide?
Do they comprehend the evil deeds
Of man I can’t abide?
Do you think they know, with head hung low,
The things I’ve had to see?
Do they reckon I am someone else?
My God, it’s only me!
Can they hear the distant screams I hear
Each time I close my eyes?
Can they feel the warm blood on their hands
Each time someone’s child dies?
As I’m damned with praise on darkest days
Can they perceive my pain?
Do they get I’m not immune to it
Just ‘cause I don’t complain?
Do the children of the cops I love,
Curse me for standing tall?
Emotionless with a stiff, square jaw
As past me goes the pall
Of a fallen brother carted off
To final resting place.
Life taken by the hand of the last
Demon that he faced.
And I wonder how they’ll see me when
It’s me who’s carted by.
Do you think they’ll know how hard I fought?
I didn’t want to die.
Lord, I didn’t want to leave behind
My loved ones and my kids.
I just tried to serve my fellow man
That’s really all I did.
But in the end, my loving God,
I know you’re not surprised
That It only matters how I’m seen
Through Your forgiving eyes.
In honor of fallen Police Officer Tamarris Bohannon, St Louis Metropolitan Police Department, killed in the line of duty last week (shown above). Mr. Jeff Roorda is a member of St. Paul's and works with the STLMPD Police Officers Union.
Rector's Corner posts written by Pastor Rebecca.