Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Week of May 29, 2018

[Sigh]... Given the continued problem of a cultural concoction of sensationalism and hate, I thought it'd be cool to see if our spiritual ancestors had anything pertinent to say to our social media posting populace. The quick answer is of course not. But some scripture came to mind while stewing upon the question, so here're some guidelines for social media posting from a letter written from Paul to a group in Thessolonica (1 Thessolonians 5).

Guideline One. "But of the times and seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you." That thing you just have to get out there; that knowledge without which this world won't go round; that bit of wit and cleverness you've come up with and must come out with; take Paul's advice and at least sit on it before shooting it out there. Paul knew that people already know. If Paul was this disciplined with the good news of the "day of the Lord," surely we should be with whatever we need to share. Remember what the "collector of sentences" said in Ecclesiastes: "What is that which hath been? it is that which is, and what is that which hath been done? it is that which is done, and there is not an entirely new thing under the sun"(Ecclesiastes 1.9).

Guideline Two. "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief." We had a saying in the nineties: "Check yo'self before you wreck yo'self." Take a good, long, hard look at the fear behind the urge--the compulsion--to post this most important thing. In the end, it's not great knowledge or insight we put out there but, rather, only a mere projection of ourselves--fears, anxieties, insecurities, etc. It is enough to possess our knowledge and to reflect upon it, meditate upon it.

Guideline Three. "Ye are all children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness." Never be fooled. As so many people involved in road-rage-gone-wrong have learned, the glass between us--be it a car window or smartphone screen--is a false barrier; and the brain is still too primitive to grasp that. "Children of the night" think they can't be seen. "Children of the day" live as though the spotlight were always on. When we post, the light is bright. Post like all our blemishes and scars and imperfections are in High-Definition focus, because they are.

Guideline Four. "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober." The impulse is strong, gnawing at us every time we see that blank space begging for our insight. To be sober is to sit with the post long before releasing it into cyberspace. You post the post. Don't let the post post you.

Guideline Five. "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for the helmet, the hope of salvation." While pausing to sit with a post before posting, ask

  1. Does this post reveal a confident trust in something greater than my own attachments and reveal a benevolence towards all things great and small?
  2. Does this post encourage all readers, along with myself, to move toward all that's redeemable in the subject matter?
Guideline Six. "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." Above all, does my post draw together people of all persuasions, and does it build up instead of tear down?

Paul goes on to say some other great things--like warn the unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all people, render no evil for evil unto any person, rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, give thanks in everything, quench not the spirit, despise not prophesyings, prove all things, hold fast to what's good, abstain from all appearances of evil--all of which is worth considering when engaging in social media.

But, then again, who am I to comment on such things? In this cultural concoction of sensationalism and hate, maybe the best advice Paul gave was for us to just sigh. "Likewise the spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered"(Romans 8.26). So...[Sigh]

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