“Are you gonna write about Duck Dynasty??”
To quack or not to quack- that is the question. A friend asked me this, so here’s the answer.
How can you stay silent?! Don’t you CARE about this issue?? Don’t you understand our very way of duck life is being threatened?!?
You know, there’s much about social media and technology that has harmed our society, but I believe one of the most significant ways it hurts us is that it creates a false intimacy. Sitting in our beds with laptops, warm and cozy, it feels like we are just chatting with an old friend, joking and laughing and we forget that what we are actually doing is screaming our thoughts and feelings to a large group of people (and in some cases, the entire world hears us loud and clear #HasJustineLandedYet )
Social media strips away the parts of communication that can make or break a conversation -there’s no emoticon for a compassionate look, reaching over to hold a trembling hand, silently handing over Kleenex. No Facebook debate can replace two friends in conflict who stop and say “Wait. I want to really understand how you feel about this.”
Jesus was pretty smart when He emphasized relationships. Truth should be spoken, and often. Hard conversations should be had. Friends should be faithful wounders. But it is ALL within the context of relationship. The people you’ve loved and served and taken meals to and laughed with and cried with. Those people you pursue, the ones who break your heart…but they break your heart because you’ve taken the time to know them, not know their profile pic.
This tendency to think we really know someone when we don’t is part of why casual statements sting so much. It’s possible that Phil Robertson is a world-class jerk- I don’t really know him, I only know what I see on television- but I bet that if you sat with him and broke
bread gumbo with him, you might walk away still disagreeing, but feeling heard and understood. The Bible gives us answers to this-
“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?”- James 4:1
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.”- 2 Timothy 2:23
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples”- John 13:34-35
This is a good lesson for me when I am tempted to blog and rant about a certain subject. My words matter, and on the interwebs and some people’s hearts, they are forever. I can’t stray from truth, but I must consider timing and method. It’s a crazy difficult balance. If you don’t think so, consider whether you are compromising or stomping over people. It’s so easy (and quite frankly, a little lazy) to spout off that X is wrong because the bible says so and that’s all there is to it without care to how your words might be interpreted. It’s just as unloving to be in a relationship with others without ever having those difficult conversations.
Sometimes I think we hide behind wanting to know what someone thinks because it’s a nice distraction from really wrestling with tough subjects. I mean, who has time to struggle though how to love a difficult neighbor when Joe Bob from high school posted something rude on Facebook about Republicans?! I’m kidding of course, no one consciously thinks this, but we are obsessed with the “need” to say what we think to strangers. And then we are Pavlovian rewarded by retweets, new followers and a tiny thumbs up icon. I am guilty.
So this week as we visit extended family, can we put relationship first? Can we care more about what’s going on in cousin Jane’s life than we are about the fact that she showed up for dinner wearing a sweatshirt with Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck shooting a moose on it? (I have no idea if such a sweatshirt exists but it probably does because Etsy). Can we love and serve the guy at dinner who uses His name as an expletive? Can we remember that wearing the robe of being on the right team of being right and being righteous is still a set of dirty rags in desperate need of Love and a Savior?