Facebook is a curious culture, and it has deeply changed how the world relates to and interacts with one another. I am at times equal parts amused and appalled as I consider the ramifications of a world in which connections can be made
The most disturbing trend, for me, is the need for folks to spout their opinion on every possible subject, with little thought to how they couch it. If one considers Facebook something akin to a virtual city street or town square, I highly doubt that any but the most uncouth would walk up to a small group of their friends (or perhaps as large a group as 300-400 people!) and fire off some political diatribe that they knew would be insulting to several present, using language that was callous and insensitive. If we had to be present
There are pros and cons to anything, and Facebook activism
But when our opinion, our "Share", our "Thumbs Up" on Facebook becomes all we do, and we feel as if something monumental has been accomplished because of the click of the "Enter" key, we have failed. You see, opinions are like
Do opinions really make a difference? Sure they do, but only when someone works to bring an opinion into full bloom, meaning something changes because of that opinion. The single best way to prove your opinion is "right" (if there even IS such a thing), is by setting the example, by living out what your opinion is.
And isn't that sort of what faith is really all about? Isn't it about having an opinion about how one interacts with the world, both on a concrete level and a spiritual level, and then showing, by example, that their "opinion" is valid? That their belief leads to action that sets an example of the teachings they believe in, allowing others the opportunity to see and then judge whether or not they might like to try living that way, too?
Our world is ever more opinion driven, and it feels at time as if it is ever less action driven. Living by example is far more challenging than sharing some opinion thrown out there with every intention of riling people up, perhaps due to boredom, and with little care or thought about how it might be received. After all, isn't everyone entitled to your opinion?
What we need is your example. What we need is your kindness, your thoughtfully and compassionately expressed perspective that is then backed up by action you take that proves you are living that opinion out in your life, not just subjecting others to something you are unwilling to back up. What we need is a world changed over and over again by examples of the change you want to see in the world, by passion and action. Passion and inaction do absolutely nothing but create friction and rancor, a nasty combination. Lord knows we have enough of that.
I would be the first to raise my hand and admit that there have been times in my life when I had not-so-humbly offered my opinion to others, and then not backed up with action that supported it. However, the older I grow, the more I realize the fruitlessness of that, and maybe I am beginning to find a bit more wisdom and recognize that there is a time and a place for everything, and if I am unwilling to act on it, perhaps my mouth (and my keyboard) ought to remain silent.
Our world is not always gentle, it is not often sensitive to the tender spirits we carry around inside us. As is our mantra at home, "Words mean things", and I believe that wholeheartedly, but it is the fact that words lead to action and example that really means something. Words plunge us into despair, or elevate us to lofty heights. Words encourage us to be more than we thought we could be, or can discourage us from even trying. Opinions expressed through words are potent, but it is the responsive
Facebook is here to stay, opinions will be floated there in ever more voluminous style. Let's hope that for some, it moves beyond the screen and into the hearts and lives of those who post.