Social networks: why so serious?


You can’t win these days when it comes to engaging in our “social media” world. Dualism is unleashed and there is no end in sight. Polarization seems to be the only remedy if one seeks to find a type of productive dialogue. Yes, you can chat until the cows arrive on virtually any type of current event. News from all types of sources across the left and right political spectrum seems to be the catalyst.

I understand. Historically speaking, news has always been a medium that brings bad news, not good. The reason for this may be from many sources, but I think the main factor would be our neurological fight or flight function (i.e. the lizard brain). Since the dawn of human existence, we have had a survival mechanism to sense danger and respond.

It’s interesting how Christians (don’t pick on them, but I’m part of this crazy world so that’s my curse) seem to like bad news and get involved anyway they can do pass their views.

So when we are given such a platform of social connectivity from a technology perspective, it is easy to see how our current state of division is. It’s not just the social dialogue we see in social media, but also the candor about self-image issues.

Or how about all the social media memes, from both sides of the Christian antipode (progressives and conservatives alike), showing what we believe? How much time do we spend “showing” what we believe, but not doing anything about it? Meaning of virtue, anyone? !

Now, now, I’m not trying to point fingers here (I’m guilty of that too). We hide from the fact that we cling to many beliefs without doing anything that reflects those opinions in real time. We can also hold onto our beliefs so tightly that we leave ourselves indifferent to what is really going on in the world around us.

Like all the hype around the second coming of Jesus, for example. Many people of Jesus hold this belief so firmly that they don’t care about protecting the environment. If Jesus returns, who cares to be the stewards of this earth, right? Theologian Peter Rollins portrays faith like this,

Faith is therefore not a set of beliefs about the world. Rather, she finds herself in the loving embrace of the world. Because the current church has reduced the Crucifixion and Resurrection to religious affirmations held by a certain tribe, rather than expressions of a type of life, the event to which they testify has been almost completely eclipsed.

Until we start participating in the real Christ reality (the flow of love) in social media, we can forget about our belief systems. We must let go, breathe, and embrace our embodied life if we are ever to see and hear the reality of Christ consciousness in this current space and time.

Behind a phone screen can only get us so far. I’m not saying social media is this hopeless devilish place of productive human interaction. Listen, I understand that people make a living on this platform (for better or for worse) and it has brought good to this world. But I say we all gotta find more than one humorous behavior if we want to survive as a species (dramatic… maybe?). It’s not so much about “cancelling” social media, but more of a way of being when engaging in it.

As the late great William Shakespeare once said:

It would be a talk for a week, a laugh for a month, and a good joke forever.

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