(In The Life Of The Church)
Timing ... A Spiritual Discipline for Social Media
The last two times I preached I talked about words. The importance of words. How words carry immense power and, in the tradition of John, a creative power. This weeks news has solicited all kinds of words, which has sent me reflecting on another value of thoughtful expression. Timing.
Good words timed poorly can do as much damage as bad words.
I believe that the difference between now and 10 years ago is not that people have more opinions, it's that those opinions are now easier to come by because the way social media has proliferated information.
There's an obvious solution to this problem ... shut down my Facebook account. I've considered it. Were it not for my need to be able to edit the UBC page, I think I would. There's another solution--not share our opinions.
I'm well aware that in some social circumstances silence can be deadly. Holocaust survivor Ellie Wiesel said "I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." I'm also aware that social media has played critical roles in political revolutions. But I'd like to also submit that often social media does nothing more than add noise to problems that are already drowning in a sea of undereducated loud voices. In these instances, silence could prove to be a gift.
Because of social media it's probably obvious that my reflections have been generated by the news from Ferguson, MO. Because I'm a white privileged male who has known a middle class existence most of his life, and because my opinions have been formed mostly by an a priori ivory tower eduction, I just don't think I have much to add to this discussion. I can admit my complicity in a systemic problem and fall on God's mercy asking the Holy Spirit to continue to open my eyes to the way i'm unknowingly racist. Other than that, the best things i might say, probably come in the form of a question.
But that's me and my experience. I don't know what yours is.
Because of my subject position on this particular issue, I choose to listen to voices I trust. Let me share one with you. Delvin Atchinson is a friend of mine. We went to Truett at the same time. Delvin is the pastor at Antioch Missionary Bapist Church here in Waco, and probably the best preacher in town. Delvin posted this, this week:
Which reminded me of something I read in Job this last year that became very meaningful to me. Job a few chapters into listening his friends pedal what I like to call cosmic-karma-distribution-theology responds, "If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom."
I realize that more in this newsletter than any other I sound like I'm standing on soap box, but I think this is important.
If there is one thing that social media contributes to our development I would suggest that it is that it exposes our insecurities. As we engage, debate and dialogue it becomes clear what we feel we need to defend. As Stanley Hauerwas points out, "any time you feel pressure to protect your God, you can be sure you are worshiping and idol." I would add that any time you feel the need to protect your "gods" of ideology, the same proves true.
Mike Brown's parents asked for two things. Peaceful protests and four and half minutes of silence to match the four and half hours his body lay in the street. I'm not sure we gave them 45 seconds.
I return the original topic of this post. Timing. There are many helpful constructive things that have been said about this tragedy. There will be many more. I urge you to find the right time to say what you must.
nUBCErs Party Follow Up
Thanks to all of our new folks who come out to our event last Friday night. And a BIG thank you to Jeff and Teri Walter for hosting.
Work is Worship 11-30-14
Mug Cleaners: Vacant
Coffee Makers: Vacant
Greeters: The Haines, Jana Parker, Sara Laminack
Shutdown Team: The Cavemen Announcements:
- Sunday Sermon Text: Mark 13:24-37
- CCMSTCCE (Caesar Chavez Middle School Teacher Christmas Card Encouragement). Be on the lookout November 30th and December 7th for more information in the foyer.
- Advent Sunday School Begins Sunday. It will be located in the backside.
- Advent worship will be after church this Sunday
- Study Hall – December 9/10: You need to study, and UBC is the best place. It is that simple. UBC will be open 10am-midnight both days, and pancakes will be served at 10pm on the 10th.
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