Heads’ up! This is NOT a political posting.
With great hesitation, in part due to intense peer-pressure, I joined the Facebook social networking site last year. After a minor learning curve I became pretty adept at navigating the waters. Not only can I connect with my current circle of friends and family, but I can search for old friends from past associations, like companies that I used to work for or schools that I attended. It really has been fun to connect with all of these people. After a while you begin to develop a “Facebook etiquette” of your own, as you discover the possibilities and annoyances that Facebook offers. The unfortunate thing is that you cannot force your etiquette on others.
One of the things that has annoyed me is the avalanche of causes and groups that I am invited to join. In any given day, I have to hit the ignore button on between 3-10 of these user magnets. A brief explanation of how this works is in order. While being hypothetical there is a risk of insulting an actual Facebook cause or group, in which case I apologize beforehand. Anyway, hypothetically, let’s say that you think that all public schools should adopt school uniforms. You start a group called “Support Uniforms in Public Schools”, and invite all your friends. Then many of them invite some of their friends, and so on ad infinitum. It really becomes a virus of sorts. The particularly feel-good types of groups get large pretty quickly in this way.
I think everyone ought to be able to be a part of whatever group floats their boats and join whatever causes inspires their passions. But, personally, I am quite capable of searching out these associations on my own, and I really don’t need to be invited to every group or cause that every one of my friends thinks is important (end scrooge moment). So, I get this deluge of invites, and every time I hit “ignore” or “reject” (or whatever label means “no”), I feel guilty for dissing my friends and shrugging-off their passions. Well, OK, so I don’t feel guilty anymore (grin).
Back to the point of this post.
So, I am sitting there engaged in Facebook stuff and notice that nearly every news flash on my home page is about my WONDERFUL friends joining causes and groups. At first it was funny to me, then I got a little annoyed. It seemed that every group was some kind of bandwagon, often centered around some person, for some cause. For instance, if my memory serves me correctly, there was a “Join Obama’s call to make a difference campaign” group, and a “Al Gore’s friends of the environment”, and “Joel’s guide to being a Christian who smiles all the time”. It seems that everyone is peddling Kool-aid these days…
It really got me wondering – are we so detached from our compassion that we have to join some figurehead’s call to action to feel like we can make a difference in the world? When we do join these alleged crusades for the common good, do we actually participate in the cause or do we let our membership suffice to feel good about ourselves. I wonder how many people who join these groups actually do anything other than click a button to advertise their agreement with the sentiment being lauded. I got so annoyed thinking about it all that I created my own Facebook group – hahahaha.
One of the things we teach the people at Thrive is this: you don’t need me, nor our church to make a difference – you can make a difference on your own.
Folks, let’s allow Jesus to possess our compassion and our passions. If we do, then we won’t be content with clicking a “join my cause” link. We won’t be content to nod in agreement. We won’t wait for some leader to lead the way. We will, instead, let the Holy Spirit lead us with His compassion and His passions. The inevitable result is that we will act, under our own gumption, to make a difference in the lives around us.