For the last couple months I've decided to change the way I used facebook. Up until that point my FB page was filled with photos of my son, and public declarations of my love for the Portland Timbers. But it was also full of negativity, complaining, and bashing of people with whom I disagree. Besides my own negativity, I was realizing that twenty minutes of FB use was raising my blood pressure to unhealthy levels. I was finding it difficult to be a FB user, especially because of the toll it was taking on my outlook of life. I was becoming more afraid and angry. I was seeing the world as an ugly, dark place. I realized that I was approaching real life interactions with caution and was only seeing the nasty parts of life.
Around two months ago I was reminded of all the people in my life who are doing beautiful, life giving things in the world. Artists, activists, pastors, writers, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, etc. After a couple conversations with folks I truly respect, I came to realize how differently I was seeing the world. They pointed out how I was starting and ending my conversations with fear. I became alarmed by this, and decided I needed to change something.
I've hit the delete button on FB more than ever. I've sat with a FB post for a couple hours before deciding whether or not to post. I've carried myself in the world differently as a result. I've felt healthier, for the most part...
But then Jerry Fallwell Jr. called his students at the Christian institution, Liberty University to arm themselves and to take out "those Muslims." Donald Trump was met with thunderous applause from supporters, likely some who were Christians, when he said it was time to close borders to all Muslims.
I began to feel the urge to rant on FB about these things. After deleting several posts I walked away from my computer not feeling as healthy as I once did. I felt that I had a responsibility to use the public platform of FB to rebuke Jerry Fallwell Jr. and Donald Trump. I felt that in these times my non-Christian friends needed to hear from one of their Christian friends that I thought and felt differently than those guys. I began to see the decisions I made to be silent over the last two months as a pathetic bowing out of uncomfortable conversations...conversations that needed a different voice.
I guess I'm still stuck. This tension between responding to the urges to speak, or to be silent are real for me. I am fully aware of the place of privilege I am in to choose to speak or not to speak. After all, I am not the one experiencing the injustice...I can choose to be silent one. And at the same time I am left wondering what good a 29 year old, white, Christian, male living in Portland, OR can actually do by speaking out on FB. If I consider FB a "community" what is actually possible in this type of community for speaking and listening?
I don't have a bow to tie on this blog post...just some wonderings about how to navigate this confusing landscape. I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below.