The right to marry will be extended to those in same-sex relationships. While this marks a major cultural moment for our nation, it also marks the day that my Facebook feed has been the most divided. From threats of unfriending to personal attacks to hellfire and brimstone judgments, it has not been a pretty site. I believe that today more than ever, we need to practice some of these principles. If we play our cards right this can be the church’s finest hour.
If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, this week has been a high watermark in the area of online conflict. With the unrest in Baltimore, The Supreme Court’s discussion on gay marriage, and Bruce Jenner’s coming out interview there has been no shortage in hot button issues.
In a time long ago there used to be a rule that everyone seemed to live by. In all social situations the rule that only the most most obtuse would ignore – Don’t talk about politics. It was a simple time before the rise of Facebook, Twitter, and Matt Walsh comment section. In those days if you felt strongly about a political position, you had to actually tell someone about it, to their face. If we are being honest, nobody likes to do that. Thus the “nothing political” policy was adopted by all but the most bold.
Fast forward a decade or two and we live in a different world. Behind the security and safety of a keyboard, people have become courageous in their ideas, not matter how socially unacceptable they are. We can feel as if we are invincible. This becomes obvious by watching just one episode of Jimmy Kimmel’s Celebrities Read Mean Tweets.
While those can be laughed off, some of the things people say online is downright threatening. Early this week an Atlanta Woman boldly stated:
“All Black ppl should rise up and shoot at every white cop in the nation starting NOW.”
That is online bravery gone too far.
If I am being honest I have had cases of online boldness that I regret now. I have entered into social brouhahas that I have had to repent of later. While there is a time and a place for boldness in our opinions, I have learned that the place is not always online, and that time is not when I am angry. I am the first one to tell you that we should be strong and very courageous in our convictions, but before we live that out online, I have 5 simple questions that we should ponder.