This is a tough world.
I have been criticized, both directly and indirectly, by even those for whom I have love and respect, and even complete strangers, for not posting about politics on social media. I’ve been told that, by not speaking out, I must be satisfied with the status quo. I must not care about how the status quo affects others.
Have you felt that pinch?
Maybe it’s because I’m a writer. Maybe because I have asked questions a few times … a very few times. Maybe because I know or know of people who feel at liberty to make pompous statements about what others do or don’t do.
And maybe I shouldn’t care so much about what others say.
Or maybe I should put on my big-girl pants and just let the chips fall where they may.
But I’m not ready to do that. Not until we talk a little about posting and sharing and commenting …
At times, I and others like me have carefully and thoughtfully made political or faith statements on Facebook only to be shouted down, smirked at, sworn at, or simply dismissed…
Perhaps the reader is a bully who just gets a big kick out of pushing others down with sharp comments and thoughtless generalizations.
Perhaps the reader really did misunderstand. Shame on me/us for bad writing.
Perhaps the reader chose the “comment” section of one of our media pages as a platform for their own message. Because it really doesn’t matter what I think… or you think… or anyone else thinks. Because, sadly, we are all just “foolish and naive.” Shame on them.
But what hurts the most is this: when a Believer says I love Jesus, some readers decide, based on that information alone, that just one more uninformed, bigoted, pious, blind, and hypocritical white Christian/evangelical/fundamentalist has pulled up a chair, uninvited, to the grown-up’s table.
And, at that point, any form of civil conversation is in serious jeopardy.
Because the only Christians they think they know might just be uninformed, bigoted, pious, and hypocritical people who claim to be Christians. And when we form our opinions and plant our flags based on partial truth or incomplete information, no one wins.
Now, when I am particularly wounded by something that I read or hear, even if not directed at me personally, I resort to a few protective strategies. Do any sound familiar?
- On my best days, I scroll past the ugliness and thank Jesus that He loves me. And that He loves the person who made that comment or poisonous post. And that’s all that matters. Scroll on.
- On days when those comments and posts linger in my mind, I imagine what that person would have said to me – and how they would have said it – if both of our grandmothers were standing nearby, listening to the interaction. I don’t know about you, but when I knew my grandma was listening, my words become a little bit more Christ-like. Thank you, Gram.
- On my very worst days… well… I’m just not even going to tell you about those dark thoughts. Thankfully, they are getting fewer and further between. Thank you, Jesus.
But, once again, my concern and bruises are not because of a difference in views about the subject. We are lashing out at each other with wicked word-spears – and with deadly precision – about who you think I am.
Good golly, Miss Molly. The issues are bad enough. There are plenty of people dying and hurting and suffering in real, physical, emotional, life-threatening ways with no place to turn.
Why do we have to defend ourselves to each other before we will even listen to each other? before we can work together? (I wrote a little about that here.)
I get it. You’ve been burned by a proclaimed Christian who cheated you in business. Someone who says they are a Christian lives a life that is selfish, self-centered and self-promoting. The church down the block is full of “Us 4 and No More.” I get it.
But believing that all people who claim to follow Jesus are lying hypocrites is as bad as any other prejudice or generalization. The phrase “they are all…” should be said with great care and thought. There are very few characteristics common to ALL people in ANY group.
When I was little, I asked my dad, why do all men who like football have tattoos and drink beer?
Pretty cute, huh?
But I’m not little anymore – and neither are you, neither is he or she. And we shouldn’t be making broad, sweeping statements about tattoos or beer or terrorism or hypocrites. We must not paint with a large brush when we speak of any group: football fans, Muslim, black, Christian, white, Jew, young, Asian, old, rich, or poor.
So back to the question. Why don’t I post my views about political issues on social media?
Here’s my answer: Sometimes we just need to talk – with our real voices, out-loud, face-to-face, with coffee and a nosh. Without the cold veil of print or the protective distance of internet speed and anonymity.
So, my lovelies, if you want to talk to me about stuff, if you have questions about how a retired white Christian woman – who is also a step-mom, widow, teacher, grandmom, and writer – feels about the chaos of the world, look me up. My contact information is right here.
You may be a bit more than surprised about what we find to talk about – not to mention what I would say.
And I’m going to think more than twice before I throw my words into the black-hole of social media. I’m not going to let the hateful poison of mean-spirited eavesdroppers ruin what could prove to be the beginning of a great friendship.