Who we tag in our Facebook notes is indicative of who we allow to be in the intricate parts of our lives.

9 07 2010


Who we tag in our Facebook notes is indicative of who we allow to be in the intricate parts of our lives.

They are the ones who matter to us.

It’s true.

“In this note” on the right-hand column tells a story. It signals who we trust.

Facebook, a tool so vital to our ministries as social beings, can also be a tool of social commentary.

Our little world is reflected in our need to express ourselves, in our note. And our world is a little too small for God. Those in our notes are the people who we let in our thoughts, our jokes, our musings, our passion and pain. They are those close to us and our dreams. They’re kind of a big deal. They’re kind of like us.

Which sometimes disappoints the Gospel.

We love to share our thoughts with our own.

We don’t expand our circle of friendships and close confidants but allow them to remain black and white. Literally.

My black friends write notes to their black family, friends and acquaintances. My white friends write notes to their white family, friends, and acquaintances. We’re rarely intentional about being with people unlike us. We’re not even aware that Facebook names a dangerous trend of homogeneity.

But the Gospel that Jesus walked was not just Jewish. It was Jewish-Gentile, Gentile-Jewish. Jesus’ Gospel looked for people out of the ordinary to be with and share deep secrets of the Kingdom with. Jesus’ Gospel sought out people who did not belong with Him, with them, with God and introduced them into the family. Jesus’ Gospel quite easily accepted new blood. It did not do coffee with new blood and forget about them until they showed up in front of it.

We forget each other until we stumble upon each other once again.

We remember that black, white, Asian, Indian, and every other people exist when chance allows us to meet. We don’t plan to meet. We don’t search desperately for our meeting so that we can redeem each other by being together outside of chance.

Chance determines our being together. But chance isn’t our Gospel.

To those whose notes are mixed, amen.

To those whose notes are not, there is something being communicated about the Gospel lifestyle we are called out to live. We’re failing but there’s hope for reversal. All we must do is take the Gospel to heart and in turn perhaps our hearts will soften, open and expand…like a flower blooming in Spring.

Or a Facebook note list.

I’m still working on it but I used to get very, very upset when people didn’t call or text me back.

28 06 2010

I’m still working on it but I used to very, very upset when people didn’t call or text me back. And not just any people, but the people who were supposed to be important in my life. I felt that the people who were supposed to be there for me just weren’t.

So I thought it legitimate to blame it on technology.

Facebook and cell phones are evil, I used to muse. If I didn’t have a cell phone and they didn’t have a cell phone I’d be perfectly content on waiting to ask them what I must via letter or whenever I would see them next. It wouldn’t be a problem, but the urgency of technology has created a problem persona within me. At least that’s what I used to tell myself, until I recognized that there are some controlling aspects of me that I need to work on now rather than later. And that there is this deep tendency in me to take things personally that, even if they are meant personally, like not answering a text message until a week later, I still have control of my feelings and not control over other people’s actions.

And it’s time to stop blaming technology. I know a lot of people have this trend where they speak badly against technology because it has created the falsity of instant relationships, communication and contact; and I agree with that to an extent, but after a while we must admit that this technology-affects-relationships debate matters to us so much because we were overeager and fell head over heels in love with it. We overdosed on its drug-like affects of euphoric communicative abilities and now want the drug abolished, but it doesn’t work like that. It took too long to get the drug legalized.

What does work is reflecting on why I may need to talk to “so and so” so badly. I have to face it; technology will keep evolving and be around long after I’m gone. I can’t control that; but I can control myself and who I allow into my life and inner circle.

A lot of the times, I reflect on the prophets and how some, especially Jeremiah weren’t feeling God’s communication back to them. They talked constantly and let God be the center of their life and didn’t feel like they were receiving the same effort from God.

Now, I know my friends are not nor will they ever equate to God, but perhaps the correlation between the prophets and I is the “I”. Maybe the common denominator is the person who feels hurt whether the anticipated communicator is a good or bad friend, or God. Perhaps the most impactful part of the lesson of non-communication is that the party with all the expectation sees something in that relationship worth being upset for or they don’t.

I have a hand in determining my mood. If I don’t like a class, I can drop it. If I am not connecting with a church body, there are others out there, one that could fit me best, but I must do the leaving and cleaving. Technology is not to blame. Even my non-communicative friends are not to blame. I have the choice or who is allowed in my life and in that choice, I can evaluate where I am (if I’m too needy or not, or if I am justified in expecting a certain level of communication from someone in my life).

It’s not a technological debate. It’s a personality issue, whether it’s mine or the said person in question. For the prophets it was not God. God was God and could do what God wanted or did not want to do. Hmmm, I guess we humans can do what we want to do too. Including evaluating what’s most important to us and what we must change or adjust in order to lead peaceful lives.

Let It Be

24 06 2010

Dear Church:

We need to step up our discernment game. Like seriously. People who make a career and name for themselves by talking stuff they know nothing about is not only extremely annoying but damaging.

Confession: I am only an expert on my own life: what I have felt, experience, seen, discerned | I love people but I can be very greedy and focus on my myself way too much | I love doing ministry but I can be very picky about which ministries I feel called to do | Just because I’m black doesn’t mean that I’m an expert on all things black [just because I can quote someone black doesn’t mean I’m an expert on them either] | I have my racist moments | It’s been slow but I’m beginning to see my color less and less around my Caucasian friends and church family [slow, but not impossible] | Sometimes I’ll start talking about something I know but stop or stumble over my words because I really don’t know what I’m talking about so I struggle pretending like I do | I’ve re-found the bad habit of gossiping and am currently working to change that |  I want to read my Bible, go to ministry, etc badly but convince myself not to because “my heart’s not in it” | I judge more than I love | I keep my options open for ministry because I don’t feel called to anything terribly specific even though I control which ministries I feel called to be a part of | I don’t confess as often as I sin | I let people tell me that it’s okay not to change [repent] because I’m human and am just working through some things, even though I know deep down that it’s not that easy.  

Whew! Now that I’ve completely embarrassed myself and made myself vulnerable not only to your criticism, but also God’s love, I now want to speak with a clear conscience and from a genuine place.

We need to be more honest, especially to ourselves and to people who talk too much stuff. We need to be wary of when we or others we know and love speak of ourselves so well and negate our humanity with “I’m not perfect”, “we all make mistakes” etc. but don’t really mean it. It’s just a disclaimer that is part of the legal jargon of our self-righteous statements. We don’t know it all, we only know in part. But we fall into a dangerous trap of believing without discerning. We listen to people who talk out of no experience of what they’re saying, no education in what they claim to know, arrogance, their  experience in their race [which may not equate to the credentials we think it does], and anger.

And we take this to be as true as God’s word. We don’t question it. If we question it, somehow we’re afraid of doing some spiritual disservice to this “woman of God” or “man of God”. But it doesn’t work that way. If they’re a “woman of God” or “man of God”, where is their fruit? Not people who feed their egos. Not their 2,000 friends on Facebook, 15 who comment on everything and are from their neighborhood or church, but that person who has bettered lives that Facebook doesn’t tell us about? Or their writing or book doesn’t brag about? Or their sermon [in their grandparents’ church] doesn’t state as its spiritual example?

Since when did we accept things without checking out that it’s credible? Since when did their words become God’s words? Since when did we start believing EVERYTHING simply because it’s being said?

I have no solution to this. I have no answer. I’m warning. Double check what people say: they shouldn’t be offended if you can confirm what they say is correct. If they’re offended upon being questioned, it’s probably because they’re busted. But if you love them or care about them, bust them before they get busted elsewhere. Being busted by your friend, brother or sister is definitely hard and embarrassing; but the clean-up is Godly.

I’m also hating. I hate it when people think everything outside of God qualifies them to do ministry. I hate it when people who are not super-star preachers, youth ministers, college ministers are ignored and their souls bleed because they don’t have the platform, advantage, ego-feeding friends and family, money, extroverted personality, go-get-‘em attitude, spiritual gift of “talking out of their butt” etc. like the “heavy-hitters” do. I am hating. I’m hating that God’s church looks like a circus. And that the ring-masters think that they had something to do with those in the Kingdom. And that they think their tricks, and magic and bad risk-taking will mean something there. I hate the fact that they think their ring-master mentality has bore good fruit instead of the maggots that it has brought to good fruit. And if I may be truthful, I often-times hate the fact that God can redeem maggot-ridden, rotten fruit. I don’t want God to, but know God can, because like the eldest son, I don’t want my father to throw a party when my younger sibling returns home repentant. I want my father to tell me I was right all along because my self-esteem wants affirmation at the expense of others. And I know this isn’t right.

I have a lot to learn from my father. And I’m glad that my father is willing to love my sin, for I know it is greater than my younger brother’s. (Luke 15:11-31)

I love that God is a redeemer. And that today, right now, on this earth we all have a chance not only to help redeem others but to be redeemed. And automatically with our being redeemed comes in the inadvertent redeeming of others. No money necessary. No mega-church necessary. No self-made followers necessary. No egotistical Facebook status updates necessary.

If we let it be.  

And I’ll be the first to say. I need to let it be.

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