Tag Archives: Facebook

Facebook Debate Review

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Over the weekend, a Facebook friend of mine, a Deacon, made the following post:

“I was saddened this morning to see how a young lady who went on mission trips with <our> parish and was confirmed, posted yesterday pictures of her supporting Planned Parenthood.    I know that she is unaware of the truths of abortion mill that they are running and how they are murdering children.   I am praying that she finds out the truth.”

As one might imagine, this was met with the full gamut of potential responses, from those in complete agreement with the sentiment, to those who felt he was shaming someone publicly, to those who thought they were being condemned for ever having gone to Planned Parenthood for any reason.

Every now and then I like to break down posts and comments.   Today, I’m going to do that.

My commentary:     This may be, broadly speaking, a sort of shaming.   No names were provided, but there were some details that could be identifying in nature.   There is an acknowledgment that the person may be ignorant of the truths about what Planned Parenthood engages in.    I don’t think the post is out of bounds, as it is right and appropriate to rebuke people engaging in sinful activity, as long as it is done with charity.   I do think, though, that the reference to the Parish should have been left off.   It immediately identifies the person as local.   Had he left it at just someone who he knew had been confirmed, and had gone on mission trips then in the minds of readers it could be just about anybody.

The first back and  forth was as follows:  

Responder 1:  I’m saddened that you would put it out on face book rather than talking to her personally.

Poster: I am more saddened that she would post a picture first without talking to me so that she was well informed.

Responder 1:  But you are the adult here.

Poster: She is an “adult” as well, and “adults” should know that planned parenthood’s main revenue is from abortions.   Period.   Too bad so many people are misinformed when it comes to that.

Responder 1: I guess I’m not OK with shaming on Facebook.   A private conversation with some give and take seems more logical.   As for the adult part, well I guess the older adult should set the example.

Poster:  No give and take on that subject – abortion is the murdering of a child – it only is a choice of life or death – and I do set the example of standing up for life.

My commentary:   I can actually see points on both sides here.   I actually agree that the preferred initial approach would at least have been to ask the person in question whether or not she was aware of Planned Parenthood’s activities.    Perhaps even ask outright if she supported abortion rights (in private) to see where she stands.    And as I mentioned, even if one chooses to use this as an example for public consumption, care should be taken to use it as a teaching example, while minimizing the risk of revealing who the “sinner” is.    Also, saying there can be “no give and take” on any subject I think is wrong-headed.   One can know with certainty that they stand for what is good and true and still have a give and take with respect to a discussion.    Give and take does not imply compromise – it can imply trying to have a reasonable discussion so you can gain trust and figure out exactly where they are.    To should someone down will do no good.   I don’t think “give and take” means what he thinks it means.

Having said that, it’s a ridiculous assertion that it is completely out of bounds to make a public statement about something that someone else willingly posted in a public manner, and it’s all the more ridiculous to say that you need to treat another adult with kid gloves just because you’re an older adult.

Responder 2: How is that shaming someone?   He stated facts without naming her.    And if she believes PP is such a great organization, why would she be ashamed at all?

My commentary:   Generally agree, with caveats as already stated.   Though, I will say that it would be possible for someone to still feel good about their own support of PP while feeling a little offended by being called out by a member of the clergy, essentially, as a supporter of murder.   It may be true, but there may have been a more charitable way to go about it.

The next responder’s comment will be necessarily broken up into multiple parts.

Responder 3: As a young adult, my mom took me to Planned Parenthood to receive regular health screenings.   Does this mean I am damned for life?

This doesn’t make any sense at all, which tells me it’s an entirely emotional response.   As for the source of the emotion (either guilt, or simply an inability to accept that just because an entity does some “good” it cannot erase the evil nature of it).   For one thing, nobody anywhere said anything about being damned.   And the phrase “damned for life” makes no sense at all.   You are not damned for life if you’re damned.   You are damned for all eternity.   Which means ALL of us should be doing everything we can do to make sure we’re right with God!   Eternity’s a long time.   Finally, just because you went to PP at some point to get assistance, depending on what it is you did there, there may be nothing morally wrong with it.   If you got some check-up or general health screening, especially if you were ignorant of the other things they do, then there’s not a problem.

Unfortunately, this is why many turn from organized religion because we all judge versus support our own.

She may be right that we all tend to judge.   But the “thou shall not judge” thing is also misapplied.   The entire context of Scripture makes it clear that we should judge what people are doing from the perspective of discernment, correction, and aiding in another’s salvation.   It is not an act of love to allow one to persist in sin.  It is an act of love to correct it.   However, on the flip side, many people do not convey that correction in a charitable way.   And flipping around again, many will be corrected charitably and will see it as an act of hate because they feel they should just be “accepted.”    We “support our own” in the faith by trying to get them to heaven.    When we see error, it can be a tricky balancing act to try and figure out how to go about correcting that error, for that person’s own good.    It is not an error of organized religion that we sometimes fail to act in charity.   It is a failure of people, in general.   But those who persist in sin after receiving correction cannot be “supported” with respect to accommodating that sin.   Yes, we still need to love them, but that doesn’t mean what they think it means, often enough.

Knowing God does not judge, the message that is being forced onto us from our church leaders is disappointing.

Um…   God doesn’t judge?    Then who does?    Is there no hell?    This is the epitome of relativism.   Only are we not to judge anything anybody does as right or wrong, but God doesn’t even do it, apparently.   This is dangerous thinking.

I miss the days of feeling welcomed to church versus hearing how horrible we are because we may not attend every week, don’t dress appropriately or may support Planned Parenthood for many of their other services that help millions of people.

My commentary:   Oh, where to begin.   First, I would be curious to know exactly how this person was made to feel like she is a horrible person.   It is possible that an uncharitable approach occurred, in which case that is problematic.   But I have an inkling – maybe more – that this person heard a perfectly charitable reminder about the importance of weekly Mass attendance, the importance of modesty in dress, and felt personally offended because she was unwilling to look inward and consider what was said with humility.    Now, I don’t know her and can’t know that for certain, but what I do know is that there are many people out there who react that way even if she is not one of them.

The other irksome argument about the good the argument about pointing out the good things about Planned Parenthood is the willingness to just turn a blind eye towards the evil that they do for the sake of the good.   Not to mention, many people put contraceptive services in the “good” column.   They aren’t.

But more to the point, at the heart of all these protests in favor of Planned Parenthood is whether or not there should be federal funding for it.   So, if you feel that strongly about PP, then write them a check or use their services, or volunteer for them.   But don’t ask me to fund an organization that doers evil things.

 

Anyway, there’s actually more, and I could go on.   Maybe I’ll continue this with another post if I feel like there’s enough worth talking about.

 

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It’s Just a Joke!

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So, on my Facebook news feed I saw an article about some woman named Brandi something or another who is some real housewife of something that I don’t care about, and even though I’m going to write about it now I don’t even care enough to find out her name or why she’s in any way famous.

Anyway, this woman took an Instagram photo of herself squatting over the baby Jesus in a Nativity scene, simulating (I guess) giving birth.   She had some caption on the pic along the lines of “Remember the reason for the season.”

The whole thing is stupid and childish, and offensive.   But whatever – it’s a free country, and I feel dumber for even knowing about this woman.

The more interesting side of the article to me was that she received really negative feedback about the picture even from people who claimed to be fans, and people who claimed that they were neither Christian nor religious.

Apparently she’s an atheist, but her initial response was along the lines of “It’s a joke people.   Get a sense of humor.”    I think her version included an f-bomb, because as we all know f-bombs make your argument better and clearer.

I mulled this over a bit, for some reason that even I don’t understand.   I am a Christian and the picture offended me.   I also realized that I don’t really care what she thinks all that much and the picture reflects on her quite poorly.    I don’t even know who she is and I don’t care enough to find out.   I actually just pity her and hope she finds her way.   It should be noted that she did eventually take the picture down.   I guess she didn’t apologize, which was fine because most of those apologies are insincere anyway, and are usually along the lines of “I’m sorry all you stupid people who can’t take a joke are offended.”    Simply taking the pic down is probably more honest.   She probably realizes it’s not worth the hassle, she alienated some fans, so it’s time to move on.   She’s really not sorry for it, so why say otherwise?

But what held my inner attention the longest was this idea that whenever people mock other people in a degrading way, they rely on the “it’s just a joke” defense.    It’s worth considering what that means.   We have probably all walked the line between harmless joke and potentially offensive joke at one time or another.   I can remember getting into an argument with some woman who is blond who said “Blond jokes are never funny, ever.”    I disagreed.   And I still do.   Some are funny.    But some are mean.    And I think what happened there is she had personal experiences from utterly mean individuals who mercilessly teased her about her blondness and beyond.    While it is probably true that good people will disagree on exactly where that line between “have a little sense of humor, don’t be so politically correct, and don’t get offended by everything” and “that is offensive and inappropriate” I do think that reasonable and good people can agree that there exists such a line, and we should do our best to not cross it.

Some take the attitude that we should never even go there.   We should, at all costs, avoid any potential offense.   I personally believe this is entirely wrong and problematic.   I understand the reasoning and I think the intentions are good.   But it’s part of what ails our country.   We’ve reached a point where we can’t say anything offensive at all about anybody on anything, and the judge of what constitutes offense is the progressive left.    In their view, religion itself is offensive.   The bible is offensive.   And so on.    We are a much healthier society if we learn to live with a little stereotypical humor about ourselves.   And yes, even if it crosses a line, we should be willing to brush it off and move on with our lives.    Better to err on that side of the equation than to try and muzzle all potentially offensive words universally.

Some take the attitude that everything is “just a joke.”    That’s a cop-out, and it’s not true.    The real question one should ask is whether or not engaging in stereotypical humor serves as its main purpose a good and funny joke, or whether the main intent is to demean and mock.    This really isn’t a difficult question.    When an atheist squats over the baby Jesus in a Nativity Scene only an idiot doesn’t see that as a statement that says “I’m mocking the Virgin Birth and what Christians believe.”    If you tell the joke about the kid praying for a bicycle for Christmas by telling Jesus “If you ever want to see your mother again…” while putting a Mary statue in a drawer, then that is funny.    Could that be taken offensively by some?   Sure, I suppose.   Should we really be joking about holding Mary hostage?     Well, the joke is more about what the mind of an innocent kid who desperately wants a bike for Christmas is like.   It’s funny.   The other is a crass mockery.   In the one case, most Christians will either be outright offended or not find it funny at all, and even non-Christians find it tasteless.   In the other case, many Christians will see the humor.

Here’s a hint:   if you hate Christians or consider them stupid, then there is a high degree of probability that your “joke” is not “just a joke” but is demeaning and offensive.  I’m not saying that is universally true, but you probably should be more careful about whether or not that is the case.   And if you get that kind of reaction, then the blindness is yours, not others.    I’m not saying that Christians can’t cross that same line – they can.   They are just less likely to.

The same is true whether we’re talking about Christians, Jews, Muslims, Blacks, Whites, Women, Men, Blondes, or Eskimos.    If you have a hatred or distaste for any group of people and you are “just making a joke” then are probably at higher risk of crossing a line.    Just accept it, and maybe do something about that by looking inward.

But let’s not get crazy.   Jokes are good.   Not taking yourself too seriously is good.    I mean, if you’re blonde and can’t find the humor in ANY blonde joke, then I think you are doing yourself a disservice.   Or, perhaps, more accurately the fault lies on others who killed your sense of humor on the subject.   And I am sorry if that is the case.   But try to move on.

I still have a copy of a bulletin from the Wisconsin Department of State, bulletin 91-92 issued January 1, 1992.   Subject: Automobile Dimmer Switches.  (I’ll skip over a lot of it, so it will lose a bit of the feel of authenticity)

  • Pursuant to the WI Dept of Motor Vehicles Act… All motor vehicles… will be required to have the headlight switch mounted on the floorboard. The dimmer switch must be mounted in a position accessible to operation by pressing the switch with the left foot.  The switch must be far enough from the left foot pedal to avoid inadvertent operation or pedal confusion.
  • …all other vehicles with steering column mounted dimmer switches must be retrofitted… Vehicles which have not made this change will fail … safety inspection…
  • …This change is being made in the interest of public safety… A recent study … has shown that 95% of all Wisconsin nighttime highway accidents are caused by a blonde getting her foot caught in the steering wheel while attempting to dim the headlights.

Come on…   that’s funny!

Fearing God, not just on Halloween

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So, I delve into the wisdom of Facebook Theology (I think I’ll trademark that.   I like it.)

On my timeline, one of my friends (an extended family member) posted this little bit of wisdom:

Common religious saying: ‘God fearing.’

New Testament of the Bible: ‘God is Unconditional Love.’

LOL.

 

My pithy response was simply “Both are correct.”    I really try to hold my tongue on Facebook for the most part, because you may have noticed that I can be opinionated and this doesn’t always serve me well, particularly when I think the point I’m debating is sheer lunacy.   Compassion and charity can take a sudden vacation at times.

But not to stop there, let’s view some of the other comments.   More Facebook Theological insight from the likes of people not quite at the level of, say, St. Thomas Aquinas.

“#mixedmessage”

“We were not created to fear God.   We were not meant to “fear” anything.   God is love.   We are love.   Therefore we all are one.”

Me:  Beyond the evidently failed logic class this person took in high school that somehow led them to the two-step conclusion that “We are not created to fear God” leads to the conclusion that “we are all one,” there are other issues with this.   If we were not meant to fear anything, God would have not created us with the emotion of fear.   Just like everything else about us, we can cripple ourselves with fear, or we can use fear as it was intended – to protect us, safeguard us, and take appropriate precautions.    To “fear” God is correct and natural in the sense that we recognize He has ultimate power and authority over us.   His benevolence, mercy, and love allows us to have a real loving relationship with Him, to befriend Him even.   But this does not negate His authority, and it does not negate the fact that with this authority comes with law and penalty.

Further, God wants us to come to Him however we can.   We learn that an “imperfect contrition” is going to confession for fear of Hell rather than the sadness in knowing that you have disappointed God, with a desire to repair the damage you’ve done to your relationship with God.    But imperfect or not, the Sacrament is valid.  God gets us.   And He’d rather us make it to heaven out of a fear of Hell than to not get there at all because of an improper sense of what the love of God is all about.     Yes, of course, God prefers that we love Him so much that we do not act out of fear.   This is a much more mature faith.   But to check fear at the door is to risk the sin of presumption.   There is still a proper place in your relationship with God for a properly disposed of sense of “fear.”   Fear may mean awe, respect, a bewilderment that God is impossible to completely understand, or at some level simply fear.

“I think it might be more realistic to assume that when one uses the term ‘God fearing’ it is implying a fear of God at a mass consciousness level in a rather negative way.”

Me:  No, that is not what it means.

“Actually the word ‘fear’ in the Bible is a mistranslation for the word ‘dance.’   So really it’s not supposed to be ‘fear god’ it’s ‘dance with your god.’ ”

Me:  To quote the original post:   “LOL”    Where do people get this crap?   Even if there is some alternate translation where the original Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic word for fear is similar to dance, trying to insert the word “dance” wherever “fear” shows up is insanely ridiculous.

I can see the next biblical translation now:   “And the angel appeared unto Mary, and she danced.   And the angel replied “dance not!”     I guess it changes the visual during my meditation of the Mystery of the Annunciation during Rosary time.

 

I don’t know why people even concerns themselves with these things.   I guess we just want to make God exactly what we want Him to be.    God loves me, therefore I can do no wrong.   No, people.   God loves all of us, but history shows that He also means business.   God is not emotional.   Everything is for a reason that has in its final purpose the salvation off as many people as possible.   We look at chastisements/punishments as anger or wrath because we’re dumb people who can only think in those terms.   It’s an apt enough description for the purpose it serves, but it also means that if we stray from God, and He doesn’t want to see us stray, He may take drastic measures that we don’t like at all.   And, yes, we should fear that.

Beyond that is the obvious analogy of parenting at the human level.   I love my kids and they say they love me.   If they don’t say that, they get no ice cream, but I think it may even be true.   Precisely because I love my kids, I want to see them grow up exhibiting certain behaviors.   I want this for their own salvation, I want it for their own ability to make a living, to be a good citizen, to have a life that is gifted with good decisions.We really do get along well.   We laugh and we play.   But they absolutely fear the consequences to misbehavior.   By extension, then, you could say they fear me.    And you know what?   I’m perfectly fine with that.   Ultimately, I would hope that they act the way they do out of love and respect for me.    But before they intellectually mature, they may just not do something because the fear the consequence of doing it.

Compared to God, we’re all toddlers.   Fear works.  Deal with it.

 

 

 

 

Copy and Paste if you…

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…love Jesus.

…are really a true friend.

…hate cancer.

…don’t want toddlers to die.

 

As part of the Facebook generation, I’m really not entirely sure why I stay part of the Facebook generation.   I find that, more often than not, I am simply annoyed by what other people post.    The list is not short.   My liberal friends tell me I shouldn’t vote for Trump because he’s a horrible person, and then in a mind-boggling act of hypocrisy are planning on voting from Clinton.   One of my nephews is quoting gnostic gospels and arguing with someone about a pyramid in Bosnia or something.   Another nephew is gay and proudly proclaiming how “love won” because of the Supreme Court decision.   And then came the “solidarity” profile pictures that made my head want to explode.   And then the Traditionalist Catholics can’t help but tell me Pope Francis is an apostate.  And don’t get me started about requests to play games, or being poked or prodded or whatever it is that Facebook does.

But one of the more annoying things is when someone posts something on my timeline that says “I want to see how many of my friends are REAL friends.    No sharing allowed.   You must copy and paste this.”    This is the same approach as all those e-mails we’ve all gotten that try to guilt you into sending an e-mail along by saying something like “many of you will be too ashamed of Jesus to forward this and will delete it.   Those who really love Jesus will forward.”    Yeah – that’s it.   If I don’t forward an e-mail to all my friends I’ll burn in hell for all eternity because, obviously, it’s because I’m ashamed of Jesus.   Never mind that I don’t forward ANY e-mail because I actually don’t want to spam other people with a bunch of crap they don’t want to see, nor do I want to put someone through the same guilt trip I’m supposed to be going through.

I have a standard rule:   I do not copy and paste any message if I am specifically asked to do so.   If I want to copy and paste something I feel like copying and pasting (that’s never actually happened yet, but theoretically it could) then I will.    But don’t tell me to.   And this stand regardless of how nice and good and heart-wrenching your message is.   Babies are dying in Somalia?    I get it.   That sucks.   I may even look into charities that I can contribute to who are trying to do something about it.   I may even share an article about it (as long as I wasn’t told to), but I will not copy and paste.   Because if I do it for just ONE thing, then the precedent has been set, and suddenly I’m pitted against causes and people.

You think I’m your friend?   But you’ll only be sure if I copy and paste a post?    Get real.

And I love Jesus.   I’m not afraid to say it.   But if you try to guilt me into copying and pasting something that everyone will then know that a copied and pasted under pressure and duress, why is that in any way salvific?    And how am I evangelizing?    I LOVE JESUS!   NOW, IF YOU DON’T POST THIS YOU DON’T, AND I’LL KNOW I’M BETTER THAN YOU!   YAY ME!

And if I don’t copy and paste a post to raise awareness for sex trafficking, breast cancer, depression, yoga, or my left shoe then go ahead and think what you want about me if it makes you feel better.

So, the question is, am I being unreasonable?   As a Catholic, a Christian, and just a person trying to be a good overall human being am I taking a stand where I shouldn’t?   Or am I truly shying away from sharing the love of Jesus or helping mankind or just making a friend feel good?   Is my stand on principle actually innately unprincipled?

I don’t think so, and for now I’ll stick with my current modus operandi.  But I’m willing to listen to counter-arguments.

 

 

 

Speaking of Facebook…

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I think I’ve caught up with the turn of the new millennium and I now have a facebook page.    So now all my blog posts will get posted to my Diatribe Guy Facebook page.   [update]I think I’ve got it set up so that you can just follow me without being a friend.   If I somehow screwed that up, you can send me a friend request and I will accept, but I’ll unfollow you because I don’t care to have anything else show up on my timeline..

Anyway, if any Facebook experts wanna check to see if I have it set up correctly and help a brother out if it’s apparent that I don’t know what I’m doing, then I’d appreciate it!

Feel free to follow and share any posts that strike your fancy as share-able with your friends.

Determining Political and Charitable Donations Using Facebook

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A little while back I mentioned that I was getting irked by all the junk showing up on my Facebook timeline from “friends.”

To recap:   When I finally took the plunge and got onto facebook (under my real identity, not the diatribical pseudonym), I pretty much decided that it would a benign entry into the social media world.   My general mental rule of thumb was “If I were hanging out with all my facebook friends, what would I choose to talk about, how wouold I talk about it, and why would I talk about it?”

I mean, here this is my blog.   I’ll write what i want, and I don’t really care because you’re choosing to come here and read it.

And while it’s true that I don’t have to click on anything on Facebook, I just find it annoying that people update their profile pic with rainbows and it’s plastered on my timeline.   Yeah, whatever.   I try to ignore it, but I’m human, and to me it’s just shoving a particular stance in my face.   I want to shove it back.   But then I think of my rule and I don’t.

But then I see a post in the aftermath of the gay marriage ruling and some friend of mine shared a link that basically made fun of Christians.    I mean, really?   You’re going to share this?   So, I’m more peeved.

Straying into politics a bit, I’m a conservative.   I don’t “like” and “share” every anti-liberal or pro-conservative thing that comes onto my page.   But apparently others do this, especially when it comes to teachers and Scott Walker.   Egad, my brain wants to explode.

Well, I mused on this blog about whether or not it might make sense to let people know that I would donate to causes in opposition to things that – pardon the french – piss me off.

At first, it was just a musing.

And then it happened.   Another shared link to “Occupy Democrats.”

Now, I don’t want to offend my Democratic friends out there.  I know there are Catholic Democrats, though how you can support a party that is in bed with Planned Parenthood, has entirely embraced all things abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgender…   I could go on, but now I’m straying from the point.   So, suffice it to say that I guess you have your reasons, and you will need to wrestle with that yourself.

Anyway, back to Occupy Democrats.   Seriously, these guys are loons.   Yeah, I said it.

I couldn’t take it.    I finally posted “New rule:   Every Occupy Democrats link showing up on my timeline will initiate a donation to whoever they hate the most.”   Now, that isn’t specific, and it’s subjective, but basically anyone good, moral, and conservative will do.   Occupy Democrats hates anyone that satisfies those three categories.

Well, that’s as far as it went for a while, but someone finally posted a ridiculous anti-Scott Walker post.    I already donate to Walker.   “New rule:  Every anti-Scott Walker post showing up on my timeline will add $1 to the donation I will already be sending him.”

I’m just getting started, I think.   I was thiiiiiissss close to declaring that any rainbow flag showing up on my timeline would initiate a donation to the Family Research Center.   I still might.

So, as is obvious, I’ve started to give up on my utopian dream of just getting family updates and catching up with friends.   If people want to be political and anti-religious, well then game on.   But facebook debates are generally fruitless and often devolve into a lack of charity.   So I’m trying to find a creative way of making my point.

Hopefully it’s not too expensive.

My Facebook Challenge

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Well, I guess there’s nothing like a little Supreme Court decision to get a guy blogging again…    Truth is, I’m not sure I have staying power, because I’m no  less busy than I’ve been since I decided I didn’t have time to blog.

But I come here today not so much because I feel I have any particular insight that the world needs to hear as much as I just need an outlet.   Writing is really a wonderful outlet, because it allows time to compose thoughts and think about what you are going to write.   But there is a caveat to this:   I don’t consider most social or electronic media exchanges “writing.”   Those are type-written conversations.  In fact, in many cases they are worse than actual conversation because there is no personal interaction that helps one realize that a discussion is happening with a human being, and perhaps a line has been crossed.

So, twitter, Facebook, discussion boards, and even e-mail exchanges can lead to bad behavior, or bad responses to otherwise innocent behavior that has been misunderstood.   And quite frankly, it’s a part of social media that I absolutely hate.

So, not quite a year and a half ago, I finally joined Facebook after avoiding it on purpose for years.    I did so because my oldest daughter was trying to get a scholarship and needed a Facebook page to get it.   She also needed people who would comment and like and whatever else you do on facebook.     For self-serving financial reasons (more scholarship for her = less potential tuition from me!) I started a simple Facebook page.

What was amazing to me was how quickly I received friend requests from all sorts of people.  It was as if people were just waiting for me to join and pounced when I did.   I now realize that, by design, people are made aware of potential friends in a myriad of ways, and it’s really easy to just click an “add friend” box.

I sort of enjoyed it for a while.   “Hey.” I thought, “it’s actually kind of nice to see what people are up to, and to stay in touch a bit.”    Time passed, old friends from high school and college reconnected.    Cousins I don’t see very often sent me friend requests.    I could get quick updates on the Packers or Brewers or whatever I wanted with almost no effort.   OK, maybe I shouldn’t have avoided Facebook after all!

And then it happened.    My teacher cousins and friends started posting incessant anti-Scott Walker rants.  I like Scott Walker. Then someone “liked” a Planned Parenthood post that hit my status.    And so on.    And then, as the culmination of so many of these annoying instances, Friday the 26th of June happened.

Now, let me back up just a bit here.

I fully understand that some are on Facebook specifically as issue-oriented posters.    They may be part of a ministry, or they may work for a political party, or whatever.   Most of their posts will be political or issue oriented or religious or whatever.    In these cases, it is their purpose.   I hold no grudge or animosity against anyone who I choose to be friends with and I know that they will be posting things I don’t like because of the nature of what they do.   Of course, I really am only friends with people in those cases where I generally line up with them politically or religiously, so it’s all good.   But I just wanted to make that differentiation.

My usage preference for Facebook is as follows:    (1) read what people post; (2) think of some sarcastic comment to make that is supposed to be funny; (3) repeat (1) and (2).    On occasion, actually post something remotely interesting about my life that others may find interesting.

Here is my view of how people should treat Facebook:   If my entire group of “friends” were to hang out together and have a nice meal and a drink or two and catch up with one another, and we knew that the cross-section of that group of friends had a lot of different thoughts about a lot of different things, including hot-button issues that stir up a lot of emotions, then there would be a reasonable expectation that the following would NOT occur:   Just about everything during election season or since Friday that shows up on my status on Facebook.

Seriously.

If you called me up and said “Hey, Joe.   It’s been a long time.   I’d like to reconnect.   How about we do lunch?”    And I responded in the affirmative, and then I showed up at lunch and you had on a “Catholics Suck!” t-shirt on and started ranting on about how Scott Walker is an evil moron, then you’d be a complete and total social moron who is acting in no way like a friend would act.

If you showed up at my house on Friday afternoon for no other purpose than to wave a rainbow flag out your car window as you drive up and down my driveway, you’d be disrespecting my beliefs in an immature and encroaching way, while all the time saying “It’s just a flag.   I’m just showing my support for the cause.”      No, the flag is symbolic of taking a side on a hot-button issue, and you are thrusting it in my face.   This is not passive., even if you want to convince yourself that it is.

So, on Facebook, every profile picture that has the rainbow flag, every post that makes fun of Christians, and so on is an encroachment on my timeline.   I didn’t ask for that.   I just wanted to see what you’re up to.   Keep your politics and religiophobic sentiments off my status, thank you very much,

So being the opinionated person that I am, I really really want to respond.   But if I respond, it might get ugly.   Not because I won’t try to do so charitably, but because I’m smart enough to know (and have enough experience in other venues to know) that no matter how hard one tries to be charitable in presenting the truth, the truth itself at some point must be stated with clarity.   And that clarity in truth is actually the thing that some find offensive. So, you can surround the truth with all the usual suspects:  “I really love everyone…” “I am friends with and know many…” “I mean no disrespect to anyone, I just want to explain how I see things…”    and so on.   But all that will be ignored as soon as soon as any sort of statement is presented that is contrary to the accepted moral relativism of our time.   Sadly, it has been accepted by numerous people we know well – family, friends, and many who sit next to us in our churches.

So, I’m posting.    I’m posting because it’s an outlet and it’s not a direct response to anyone and it will not show up on other peoples’ status pages.    I’m posting because the only people who will read this are those who stumble across it or follow the blog – it will be their choice to read it.   It’s therapeutic.

What I really wanted to do was post something on my status stating that I would be donating $X to different charities for every post that annoys me.   And then I was going to list a whole bunch of examples of offending posts.   As a couple examples, “Any anti-Scott Walker post, donation to his campaign.   Extra donation for any references to physical harm”   “Any <so-and-so> has updated profile picture to cover it in the rainbow flag status update – $X to Family Research Council.”   That’s just a couple.   I had a whole list.    I thought it was funny and made my point, but in the end I decided against it.

So, I blogged instead.