Why I’m Off Facebook

Did you miss me?

Probably not, and that’s fine. I’m not so self deluded as to think that my absence would (or should) be noticed. The world does not revolve around me, and I’m actually quite happy with that. I’m off Facebook for a variety of reasons, here they are:

The current SSM issue. My feed has been inundated. It seems that every time I opened my FB page I was visited by a whole host of posts, updates, shares and the like, from both sides of the debate, each with the predictable slide into vitriol in the comments below. I couldn’t engage in the debate, because it looked like reason, grace, thoughtfulness and humility were things to be disavowed at every opportunity. You aren’t even allowed to disagree with any kind of grace.

For the record, no, I don’t support SSM. I have good friends on Facebook who will see this issue differently, I respect them, and I will still see them as friends no matter which way this issue goes. It will not stop me from caring about them. As a Christian I cannot reconcile this issue with the Christian life. I’ve tried. I’ve read the arguments in favour, from (no doubt) well-meaning Christians. But honestly they seem to be more about making the bible and Jesus say what we want them to say. That leads me to the next thing…

I am off Facebook because I didn’t like the way Jesus was being used to sell/support any number of ‘opinions’ as fact! There’s a little verse at the beginning of John’s Gospel, right after Jesus did the whole cleaning-out-the-temple thing. It says that people saw all the signs He did, and entrusted themselves to him, but he didn’t entrust himself to them. He could see right through them.

That verse has always stuck out to me, and even more so as I’ve watched the debates over Asylum seekers, SSM, and other issues, political, economic, and social. It seems we love using Jesus to support our agendas, our politics, our beliefs, our hobby horses. And what we seem to end up with is a Jesus who looks pretty much like… me!

Now of course we all do that in some form or another, and I’m definitely no exception. But I’ve really had to stop myself recently and ask ‘Is this my agenda, or is this His?’

In the various arguments that have been coming up, I’ve noticed that all we seem to be doing is a form of theological cherry-picking that supports MY views over the person I’m arguing with. I reckon we could all do with a bit of reflection on those verses in John. They provide a cautionary tale about treating Jesus as a silly-putty Messiah, mouldable for any market. The whole idea of discipleship is that we are shaped to Jesus’ agenda, He will not fit into ours.

I’ve seen plenty of silly-putty Jesus stuff on Facebook. At first I did try to engage with it, to try to be part of a conversation that was useful and helpful – or so I thought. What I found instead was that I was contributing to an endless spiral of point-scoring and one-upmanship, and I was getting sucked into that. I didn’t like what it was doing to me, to my thought processes, to my friendships or to my Christian walk. That leads me to the next thing…

I’m off Facebook because one day I realised that I’m tired of it, and I’ve realised I’m part of the problem. At its core, I think Facebook relies on narcissism, and narcissism is – I believe – an increasingly virulent and dangerous thing to feed, it destroys people. I was sooo keen to publish every waking thought I had, that I never stopped to hear someone else speak. It was all about the witty comment, the funny picture, the latest status update. Who I was with, where I was, what I was doing, how many people ‘liked’ my posts. It was a perennial ‘keep up with the Jonses’ over the internet. I was starting to define myself by those things, and those things were starting to define me. I needed to get out.

So I logged off, and haven’t been back since. I take a look every now and then, but I have no desire to go back. Maybe I will re-enter that universe again, I don’t know. But for now I’m off the Facebook wagon.

The only real regret I have is the friends I have reconnected with, some I haven’t seen for ages. I am sorry about that. I still have messenger, and I’m more than happy to communicate with people on that platform. But Facebook? I’m giving it a rest for a bit.

About andy63

Auditorium/Facilities Manager at Kennedy Baptist College. Family man, Dockers Supporter, NFL and NBA tragic who loves the Red Bull Air Race and a good meal. A Christian who is grateful for grace and forgiveness and the fact that Jesus is alive.

3 Responses to “Why I’m Off Facebook”

  1. I have missed you, It was how I rediscovered you, but in the end, it isn’t the be all and end all. Enjoyed the your thinking out loud here.

  2. Good post! I had to look up SSM; as a Christian, I agree with you. As for FB, I’m not on it because I think it does more harm than good (it def. feeds narcissism), and because I think it’s pretty rotten to use cleverly designed software to harvest people’s personal info and sell it/share it for financial gain the way Zuckerberg does. I’m on Twitter, but I’m starting to think I shouldn’t be because they’re blocking some Christians whom they deem to be “haters” because of beliefs that fit with Scripture.

  3. I left you a long comment. It immediately disappeared 😦 So I’ll just say I agree with you and leave it at that.

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