Obviously, with the elections coming up as well as the whole Chick-Fil-A Gay Rights fiasco recently, Facebook has been a hotbed for sociopolitical and theological arguments, even moreso than usual. My feed is constantly flooded with articles, status posts, and pictures that seem to contribute to the utter polarization of almost every issue under the sun. This friend is reposting a picture that encourages everyone to "Like if you support traditional marriage" (the picture portrays a young, mid-twentiesish white male and female embracing-- not exactly what I have in mind as "traditional marriage"... at least not so exclusively),
and that friend is posting a viral meme that says "You’d never see that many Christians lined up to help at a food bank or homeless shelter. And that’s something Jesus actually said to do" (a statement that is at least as factually flawed as it is emotionally provoking).
Then of course, you have the comments, for or against what is being stated/posted. We wont even get into those except to say that they are often apparently knee-jerk reactions motivated by fear or anger (on both sides), and are often downright rude to both the poster and anyone who happens to agree/disagree with them. Now I'm not saying that these are the only things being posted on Facebook, nor are they largely being posted by one group or another. In fact, the most disturbing thing I've seen is the fact that it is literally impossible to distinguish one "group" from another, based on what they are posting/commenting. Nowhere is this more disturbing than when Christians, or at least people who claim to be Christians, are posting things that are meant to shame thier own church and ridicule at least the majority of their fellow Christians.
Now maybe I'm just being old-fashioned. I never could get into the spirit of passive-aggressive demotivational posters, and politics (or really any subject that turns kind, reasonable people into slavering narcissistic maniacs) has always turned me off. But it seems to me that the Church, at the very least, should be following Jesus' command to "Love one another," if for no other reason than to attain his promise that thereby everyone will know that we are His disciples (John 13:34-35). If we can't even manage to love other Christians, it's no wonder that the world sees us as cold, heartless bigots.
Part of the problem, I think, is that in our attempt to avoid being silent in the face of sin and temptation which permeates our culture (and has always permeated every culture since the Fall of Man), we get into this knee-jerk naysaying mindset. We are slow to approve of any good thing the world comes up with, but we know what sin looks like, and we choose to speak up against it at the first opportunity. I definitely got into this mindset as a baby Christian: I was new in my faith and just beginning to understand how differently I would have to live now in order to please God. And like a child who has been told by thier parents what words they arent allowed to say and then hears another adult say it, I spoke up at the most inappropriate of times, claiming that "That's a sin" and "God told me that's a bad word/thing". I understand why we do that: it is because we fear sin and the death it brings, emotionally, physically, spiritually, sociopolitically, and every other "-ally". And rightly so. James 1:17 tells us that sin produces death, and death is something mankind has feared since it first entered our world. I would also like to believe that the reason Christians are so keen to correct the world is that not only do we care about others' souls, but we also recognize that "no man is an island," so to speak, and every sin committed by a person affects those around them to some extent (even if they seem like private sins that don't hurt anyone-- for more on that line of reasoning, C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity is an excellent read!), and so we are concerned not only for the sinner, but the others that they are influencing.
But the reality remains that Christians are very much known for what we are against (i.e. homosexuality, pornography, atheism, etc.), rather than what we are for (i.e. love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control, sacrifice, purity, generosity, etc.). True, the media delights much more in giving face-time to Christians protesting things, and you'll rarely hear in any major newspaper about Christian groups ministering to homosexuals dying of aids, building homes for and feeding the homeless, or giving away their earthly possessions to those less fortunate. But that shouldn't be an excuse for us. If we were truly living in such a way as to show those things we value and live for, the media would not be able to prevent that message of God's love from getting through. And that's the crux that I've been personally stewing over. I want to live in such a way as to show what I believe: that there is no God but YHWH, and that he is GOOD and LOVING, and MERCIFUL, and JUST! I'm tired of being an "anti" Christian; I want to be a "for" Christian.
Anyway... I came up with a tentative idea. Bear with me, it's kinda silly, but here it is: a girlcott.
No worries, this isn't me going all feminist or anything, but rather a play on words for "boycott" meant to indicate that what I'm doing is the exact opposite of it. I was thinking that maybe for a month (to begin with, and maybe more if it catches on), I would pick something weekly to support that does exemplify those things I am for: love, peace, generosity, etc.
Now, I've talked before about how I am a woman of somewhat limited means to support the things I believe in. I don't have a lot of money, and with a kid and an at home daycare (not to mention only one working vehicle), I have pretty much no time to go out and volunteer my time in lieu of money. But here's what I do have: I have $20 a week at my disposal, which my husband has encouraged me to set aside from my regular income to do with as I wish. I have a love of baking, knitting, and making jewelry. I have a Facebook account and a blog, which, as I have indicated above, are both effective means of spreading a message, at least within my own social circle. And I have a God whose imagination and innovation far surpass my own and whom I am certain will be willing to bless any effort I make to glorify Him. So...
Starting this week, I am going to start a Girlcott, supporting things that glorify God and the things He stands for with any and all of the resources at my disposal. Who's with me? (This is the part where you raise a victorious fist and cheer.)
Do you have any suggestions for things I can look into girlcotting? Remember, they have to meet the criteria of being described using most or all of the fruit of the spirit!
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23