Because of Facebook

When Matthew wrote Matthew 25:31-46, I bet he didn’t think he was writing about Facebook, did he?

You know the verse – where Jesus said, basically, I was needy and you didn’t help meet my needs, so you’re not part of the kingdom of heaven.    Those who were called to account said,  “Lord, when did we see you hungry?   When did we see you thirsty?   When did we see you…….”

And Jesus says, “Whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me.”

Bam, there enters the Facebook effect.  

100 years ago, 20 Christians could have been executed for their faith on the other side of the globe and we wouldn’t have noticed.

Today, we can watch it on video.

20 years ago, a little child in Haiti could die from malnutrition and we wouldn’t even know about it.  

Today, we can know her name, her story and the struggle that took place to save her.

20 years ago, we wouldn’t know about the teenagers in California who committed suicide due to bullying and depression.  

Today we can hear stories and see video from their parents and their siblings.

20 years ago, we wouldn’t have known about the teenagers in the foster care system in Los Angeles who needed families.

Now we can see and hear about them from friends.

The world is a lot smaller place because of Facebook (and all of the other social media).  

And because we can know about what’s happening over there, we have to know.

And we have to care.    It used to be that we could focus on the people on our street, the people in our church, the people we work with.

Now God’s saying, “Because of Mark Zuckerberg, that’s no longer good enough.”   

Because of Facebook, our neighbors are a lot more widespread.

Because of Facebook, we can no longer be quiet when terrorists strike.

Because of Facebook, we can no longer be quiet when racism rears its ugly head.

Because of Facebook, we can no longer ignore the starving children in the Middle East who were forced from their homes by ISIS.

Because of Facebook, we can no longer ignore the injustices that are being committed against children all over the world – and all over our country.

Because of Facebook, God’s call to care for the widows and the orphans in their distress is a lot louder and a lot more urgent.

Because of Facebook, we can’t say,  “Who?  I don’t see anyone who needs help?”

Because of Facebook, the world is smaller.

The need appears larger.

And the call from God is growing.

Will you answer?

Tom

Facebook – the screen effect

So, all of Facebook takes place on screens – whether it is on a phone, an ipod, an ipad (as I am writing this on my ipad) or on a computer.    It’s all virtual and there is always a barrier between people.

That can be good and that can be bad.   Let’s call it the “screen effect.”

What’s the bad thing about the screen effect?    There are a lot of things that people say on Facebook that they wouldn’t say if they were sitting across the table from someone.    Politics, morality, parenting, family relationships, governmental regulations, religious freedom, sexual orientation are all issues that get discussed on Facebook.   Most of them quite heatedly.    And in many of them, people say, actually write, things that they wouldn’t say quite so strongly or in such an antagonistic manner.

And that hurts people.   And it hurts relationships.   All because of a screen that’s in between the people on both sides of the conversation.

But there’s a good side to the screen effect too.

It has to do with emotions, with pain, with suffering.   Witth struggling, with depression, with trouble.  With loneliness, with questions……

How can those be good?    There are a lot of people on Facebook who are struggling, who are hurting, who are in need of help.    And a lot of those people are getting the help they need – because they feel comfortable opening up to others because there is a screen in between.    There are countless groups on Facebook where people can join the group and talk about their struggles, their dreams, their pain – and often open up with others who are facing the same things.

The beauty of the “screen effect” is that it enables people to connect with people with similar passions, concerns, etc. that they do.    And most people feel more comfortable opening up with others when there is a screen in between them and when geography doesn’t make a difference.

I’m member of a number of groups – one of them is people who have kids from the same orphanage we do.    Another one is an eclectic group set up by Jon Acuff who are all “Dreamers and Builders” and aren’t satisfied with the status quo.   A third group is one that I’m setting up – it is all adoptive dads in Michigan.

All of them have connections that wouldn’t happen otherwise.   All of them have people who I consider friends who I would not know otherwise.    All of them have opportunities to open up, to connect, to be vulnerable that wouldn’t happen if it would require sitting down face to face.  

So, the screen effect – it can allow people to say things in ways that they wouldn’t in real life – and that can be hurtful, painful and difficult.

And it can allow people to dream, to share, to struggle and to be vulnerable and be supported in ways they wouldn’t otherwise.

Screen effect – I’d say the good outweighs the bad even though the bad is much more noticeable.

Tom

Facebook

That name brings up so many emotions.

To some it’s the epitome of a time waster.

To some it’s a place to play games (Words with Friends?  Candy Crush Saga? Don’t invite me to play those).

To others it’s a place where evil people lurk to try to “snatch” children from good places.

To others it’s a place  where everyone puts on their Sunday best and tries to make it sound like they are part of the perfect family and take the  perfect vacation and have the perfect family reunions.

To others it’s a place where we are constantly reminded that we don’t do a very good job of keeping up with the Joneses.

To others it’s like high school all over again.

To others it’s like that show on CNN where they used to get political talking heads to argue for an hour, on cue.   Political rants run rampant.

To some degree and for some people, all of those are true.    So, did Mark Zuckerberg make billions off something that has mostly negative connotations?   Something that is a drain on society and hard on our mental health?

No, I don’t believe so.  

I believe that a lot of good can come from Facebook.    I’m going to explore the ways that Facebook is changing the world, how it has changed my world and how you can use it to be a positive change for the world.

Tall Order?

What and see,

Tom

P.S. – Just to be ironic, I’m going to tweet about this blog post as well…….

The Day After The Life Before……

It’s Monday.    But not just any Monday.

It’s the Monday after.   After Easter.

So what? 

That’s the question.    Yesterday we celebrated that we have new life.   We are no longer in debt to our life of sin and struggle.   We are free.

But today, we wake up to another day.

It feels like the same old ordinary day, but it’s different.

It’s the day after the life before.

The day after everything changed.

So what?

So, what we thought mattered doesn’t matter any more.

So, what matters is what Jesus said and what He did.

And that changes everything.

Our views on who we are must change.

Our views on what really matters must change.

Our views on those who are “different” from us must change.

Our views on how to show God’s love to the “least of these” must change.

Yesterday was Easter.

Today is the day after the Life “Before.”

Before God rescued us.

Before we truly experienced grace.

Let’s make sure that we live the day after the life before and the life after the life “before” differently.

Care more deeply.

Love more freely.

Speak more kindly.

Help more openly.

Pray more often.

God changed the world when He gave us Easter.

As a token of our gratitude, let’s go change the world for Him.

Tom