Friday, August 3, 2012

Facebook: The Peanut Gallery For The Passive Aggressive


Yesterday I surrendered.  I realized that Facebook or at least who I was exposed to on Facebook was toxic to my spiritual life.  I was angry, short tempered and basically over all pissed of.  Then I had to take the stage and talk to my worship team about the reality that we are losing another worship team member only five months after the death of another worship team member.  All the sudden perception and clarity punched through the anger and I realized I didn’t have to descend into this trap.  I was choosing to. I even got into a stupid conversation with a good friend over gun control. What a freakin’ waste of energy, time and relationships.
I was angry because my pastor and worship leader friends thought fighting over what eating a chicken sandwich meant, rose the level of national conversation.  I read the posts about how Gays felt attacked and how racism against blacks have been replaced by the mistreatment of gays in society.  I read how the church failed yesterday, and how Mike Huckabee rallied for a show of appreciation.  I read the posts from believers that said, we have lost our voice as the church to speak into these issues or even to be relevant to the gay population.  I clinched my fists as I read how gays have suffered like blacks did and more so because they have to hide their preference.
So now at the risk of being unfriended by most of you I would like to set the record straight.
Blacks were taken from their own country, captured and hunted like animals.  
They were chained up in the belly of massive cargo ships and dumped into the ocean if they did not survive the trip.
They were sold like property, forced into labor, raped, beaten and mutilated. 
They had their children sold out from under them 
They had their identify taken from them and were given new names that stole from them this heritage and history.
They built the country we now enjoy and were given nothing as compensation for it. 
They had to sacrifice themselves to prove themselves worthy to wear a military uniform and in some cases were killed by the men they were supposed to be fighting side by side with.
The government they helped build labeled them lazy, and deficient.
Government programs to take care of people in their old age kicked in after the life expectancy of Blacks had expired.
We were denied transportation, education opportunities and terrorized by organized agencies that in some cases were sworn to protect us from this exact type of terrorism.
We were denied the right to vote, own property or run for public office to change it.  
Our non violent protests were met with absolute violence including murder, animal attacks and lynchings.
The most sacred places blacks gathered on Sunday mornings were bombed. 
We were depicted in society and film as criminals and gang bangers.
Our contributions to history, film, music, science and culture were simply written out of history, and continue to be rewritten in history today even depicting a pilot in a recent 9/11 movie as white to the amazement of the African American family that lost their Dad and spouse on that day.  These were not isolated incidents. This was an oppression that spans generations and engulfed entire populations.
So with all do respect, please don’t compare the plight of gay rights in this country unless you can show me a 200 year generational history that encompasses an entire race of people that endured what is listed above. This country prospers because of those sacrifices.  That same country now allows individuals to earn and spend their money they way they see fit.  This includes Chick Fil-A and Apple computer.
Chick Fil-A sells fast food.  The president of the company doesn’t believe in same sex marriage.  All hell broke loose as a differing opinion was aired. All the sudden tolerance was no longer tolerable. 
I’m not going to get into the gay rights thing because the arguments, unlike the actual persecution is all to familiar.  When one of my friends would drop the N-Word, I would hear, “I’m not a racist, one of my best friends is black.”
So that narrative continued yesterday.  “I have a gay friend”  and now that somehow makes you an expert.  I get it, I get it all to well. Life does not play fair.  Did you really expect it to?
Here is the sad truth that was apparent to me yesterday and led me to the decision I made. When pastor’s blog sites have more fans than their church has members, something is wrong.  When attendance in church is dropping but friend requests are increasing exponentially, something is wrong.  When the preaching takes place in cyberspace at the expense of teaching in the pulpit, something is wrong.  When liberals in your church feel like they are on an island by themselves at the same time, conservatives in your church feel the same way, something is wrong.  When unity is something we talk about on the weekend but we spend the rest of the week in cyberspace being divisive, something is wrong.  
My Dad use to say: “Never argue with a fool, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience, every day of the week.” Facebook is becoming the peanut gallery for the passive aggressive, and if you let it, it will do the exact thing that my father warned against. It will drag you down and beat you with it.
So I leave you with this thought.  It has been reported that Apple Computer supports same sex marriage. It has also been reported that they financially support organizations that lobby for this.  Yet many of the pastors and worship pastors I know use Apple computers every day to write and record worship music and use apple technology to spread the message of Christ every day.  Spin that one around in your noodle for a while.  
Where was the outcry for tolerance yesterday?  I couldn’t find it.  Why?... Because the things no one will talk about face to face were all happening in the peanut gallery of the passive aggressive. 
I believe the gospel is the most important message for people this side of heaven.  However when we lower that message to the level of politics we splinter it into liberal, conservative, democrat, republican, oppressor, liberator, and an infinite amount of others.  At best we might as well hand out cognitive filters at the door because once you’ve vented on facebook, everything you say from the pulpit if then filtered.  Jesus had the ability to cut straight to the point, and if he offended you, you were free to challenge it.  However he always told you what you wanted to hear and what you needed to hear simultaneously.
As for me, I stayed up until 4:15AM changing Facebook settings and removing my friends posts from my news feeds.  This morning I woke up to what felt like victory.  I haven’t closed my mind or my heart to dissenting opinions, I actually welcome it.  I just refuse to do it on Facebook. If you want to discuss something with me and you actually know me, call me, we’ll meet face to face and have a healthy conversation.  As for Facebook, it is now a one way information stream for me.  If you have asked to follow me, you are welcome to, but no longer will I spend any part of my day, randomly being someone’s seagull friend.  I refuse to Fly By, Crap All Over People and Fly Away.  My last post on Facebook said:
“If you want to play the role of the match, you can’t be pissed off at the gasoline when it does what it is designed to do...and blows up in your face.”
Sincerely, Free at last!
Charlie Hines

2 comments:

  1. "peanut gallery for the passive aggressive". i love this. i rarely post things that side with issues but i've posted a couple about this, only b/c i couldn't put into words my own thoughts.

    however, i, too, have felt - especially over the 2-3 weeks - the depressing effects of facebook. i've unsubscribed from i don't know how many people (leading to that feeling of "victory"), which includes some family members. i've blocked my own page from people who do nothing but incite arguments if they differ from me in any way.

    i gave up facebook for lent and didn't really miss it. and although i'd like to just delete my account - often - i keep it b/c it's one of the easiest ways to get ahold of people. most event invites, many of my emails, etc all come through this stupid thing. :)

    anyway, for what it's worth, you're not alone in what you're feeling about facebook. it's not healthy for me to put as much time and energy into it as i have been. i need to shut my computer and crack open a book more often.

    thanks, brother.

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  2. Thanks for sharing. On the way home from worship rehearsal last night. I shut off everything. My phone, XM, and just talked to God the entire way home. I felt like my voice was foreign to him. I felt like I've trying to social network my way back to God, and he basically told me in the car. "Man....I miss just this."

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