I check Facebook often. Yes, I may have a problem. Perhaps it’s a passing fancy, but I’ve been disturbed by my ritual of checking my newsfeed lately.
For those that don’t know, I was a religion and political science major in college. I love talking about the things most people want to avoid, and truly enjoy taking part in fair and honest debates about issues that make a lot individuals uncomfortable. I’ve known this about myself since I was 10, and I’ve always felt a bit out of place when I don’t have an opportunity to have intimate discussions about these passions and interests. Most folks want to stop these conversations short, and I try to placate them because I know in most cases, what I want to thoughtfully engage makes them want to throw a book at my head. “No, thank you” they literally say walking away. My amazing boyfriend engages me in these dialogues because he knows I’d simply burst if I couldn’t engage with someone. In my father’s absence, my boyfriend has certainly stood in that gap well and even softened my heart in places I’d thought I’d never change.
We have a handful of friends that think exactly the opposite of what I do…spiritually, politically, and even culturally. Their perspective is entirely different. And you know what? My favorite conversations were born with those friends. Sweet, honest, truly warm memories were made standing around a kitchen island and sitting circled on a back porch debating each other and challenging each other to think differently, to examine something from a different perspective. This happens almost every time we get together and I just love it. Our time together always ends in hugs and respect of one another. We all leave marked by something. We all leave with a different understanding than we had walking in. We also continue forward in a stronger bond of where we feel the same, of loving one another, and lifting each other up.
I try to refrain from posting political views on Facebook because it simply can’t offer what these face-to-face conversations can.Words are easily misinterpreted without a face and voice to convey them. Lately, I’ve seen my Newsfeed littered with hate of opposition and inclusive conversation. “If you don’t feel the way I do, unfriend me.” Seriously? This attitude has reached into every abscess of the Internet and media.
There is something about the anonymity and lack of human presence that gives people, in my opinion, a fake, counterfeit courage.
It could be these people simply aren’t reading the entire article they are posting or don’t realize what their Facebook is telling others. Maybe a little of both.
This is why my Facebook ritual has disturbed me. It is a counterfeit of true human interaction. While I enjoy getting to view my friends and family I wouldn’t see otherwise, I know I also have other means to do that without shifting through a million posts about the contentious election and smears and hate coming from both sides. If these things are so important to get out, I don’t understand why the same “friends” don’t ever want to talk about them in person. I want to be challenged, I want to grow, I want to take every perspective into account. I want my friends to want to “share” something with me. Something real, not something shouted into the void of the world wide web.
So no, thank you Facebook. I will not engage my political passions with you over your social media newsfeed. Friends, if you would like to talk to me about the “big 3 no-nos”, please, come see me at the next gathering. I’m so ready and willing to listen, just please, offer me your real face because that is where the true beauty of community begins.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32
Anna Hull lives in San Antonio, TX. A graduate of Schreiner University with a B.A. in Religion & Political Science, Anna is passionate about finding Jesus in every day life. She enjoys unexpected adventure, making genuine connections with others, and finding beauty in chaos.