I know I've been blessed by Facebook to find people that I have lost track of over the years and stay in contact with people that I would not normally interact with on a day-to-day basis. It has greatly helped me with learning more about my church family. My church has around 275 people that attend weekly service and it's very difficult to know and interact with each person each week. This is where Facebook has been a great resource.
For example, I've learned about the different hobbies, interests, careers, family, etc. of the people I attend church with. I've also been able to interact with and get to know people that I may not have ever gotten to know through Facebook. It's like walking down an electronic sidewalk and being able to say "hello" to your friends at church. You can even stop and talk a minute!
So where's the "Fallout"???
Well... my pastor preached a sermon on November 23, 2008 addressing how much the church is being influenced by worldly media. He ran the gamut of various media including music, books, movies and...Facebook. Speaking of Facebook, my pastor was even accused of getting a Facebook account to "spy" on church members. Boy, how ridiculous is that accusation!?!
Pastor preached a strong message and surely stepped on some toes. (If the shoe fits, throw your foot in there!) His main text was from Ezekiel 33 and said that our issue was one of pride. We simply think that we can partake of worldly media and not be influenced. This was definitely not a message that a pastor would preach if he was worried about "numbers". He was preaching in the sight, not of men, but of God.
Pastor showed this video as an example of what some Christians consume on a day-to-day basis and have no problem with it.
For a pastor, diving off into areas of what people watch, listen to, read, etc. are dangerous waters. It obviously leaves you open for the criticism of begin legalistic or judgmental. Typically, however, the ones who pull the "legalistic" or "judgmental" cards are the very ones who are dealing with the issue at hand. Conviction sets in and the defense mechanisms come out. I wonder if Casting Crowns would be considered "legalistic" for their song "Slow Fade"? (We must definitely be concerned about the "little feet behind you that are sure to follow") Or would God be considered "judgmental" for what He said through James in 4:4-6?
After the sermon, I heard many positive comments from various age groups. I didn't actually hear anything negative. However, within a few days of the sermon, I did happen to notice my Facebook "Friends" number diminish. HUH?? I can only wonder how many "Friends" I'll lose after posting this blog...
Facebook is kind of an unusual utility in the realm that it does not notify you when someone drops you as a Friend. I immediately began to browse through my list of Friends to find who was M.I.A. I was shocked to find that I hadn't lost some of the "lost" friends I have on Facebook. I hadn't lost the homosexual friends I have on Facebook. I hadn't lost the "get drunk on Friday and Saturday night and have casual sex" friends I have on Facebook. I hadn't even lost the Atheist or universalist friends I have on Facebook. I lost Christian friends from my church. Why had they dropped me? I don't know for sure in all cases, but I do have a very good idea.
Imagine that you are driving down the expressway and suddenly saw the flashing blue lights of a police vehicle in your rear-view mirror. You pull over to the side of the road and wait for the police officer to approach your vehicle. You roll down the window and the police officer asks you to step out of the vehicle and that he would like to search your vehicle. What would be your response? I know my response would be a very cooperative, "No problem, officer." A drug dealer would not so readily make their car available to search. Why? I have nothing to hide in my car and the drug dealer probably does.
I surmise that some of the people that dropped me as a friend on Facebook had some things to hide on their site. Maybe TV shows, movies, books, activities, sayings, etc. that did not match up with the "I'm a Christian" label that they had on their Info tab. This is a common practice. On the Info tab, most will have the label of "Christian" and then the worldly "stuff" follows thereafter. It's a bit comical, but sad at the same time to see "I'm a Christian" and then see "Favorite Movie: Saw V."
The issue here is not that they dropped me as a friend on Facebook...hey, I'll get over that. I think it points to a deeper issue. An issue of what my pastor preached on (pride) AND accountability. If a person, and especially a person in leadership, can't see someone's Facebook page, then the fellow Christian can't call into account the worldly behavior. And trust me, you conspiracy theorists out there, no one is running around looking at everyone's page to analyze the content. You don't even have to do that when you see Status Updates of "So-and-so is over at whoever's house listening to Flo-rida's "Low" or "So-and-so just got through watching [Rated 'R' movie loaded with cussing and blasphemy]...it was awesome!" Um, yeah, something just doesn't line up here.
In another ironic move, I even saw some people add things not fit for Christian consumption to their list of "Favorite" items within days after the sermon. It was almost in a spirit of, "I'll show them!" The problem is that they did show them (the church)...they showed them just how rebellious they really were.
None of us are without sin and pastor was not talking about "gray area" issues, but blatant things that fly in the face of God and Christianity. One thing's for sure...it appears that some people value the world more than their brothers and sisters in Christ. If all of us, as a church body, cannot be accountable to one another, what have we become?
WATCH-->Where Did Your Slow Fade Begin?
WATCH-->Where Did Your Slow Fade Begin?