Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Numbered Among the Sheep or the Goats, on Facebook

Matt Marino has a confession to make:
Facebook gets a lot of grief, but I have a confession, I like Facebook. It allows me to peek into people’s joys and struggles, rejoice and grieve with friends, and spurs me to pray more. I keep in touch with people I would never see.
He talks about Todd, a not-really-friend from school who remembered him, because he treated Todd decently when, I gather, others didn't. I would have liked to think of myself in the same terms, but really, I wasn't so much a jerk in those days as I was held captive by my own considerable problems. I cannot imagine that I was ever numbered among the "cool kids"; it was hard enough not to be a pariah, but I think that by graduation I had the respect of most of my classmates, purchased to some degree at the cost of a lot of people not coming back after my first or second year there. At least one of them I surely treated poorly, perhaps for his more exaggerated version of my social drawbacks.

My Facebook friends list is a strange intersection of family (not many of those), school friends (high school and college), church people, and the larger Anglican world who I am privileged to know mostly through this blogging. I don't get a lot of friends requests, but if I ask for a list of suggestions, there are always plenty whom I know in some sense. And then I think, "do I know them well enough to presume upon their acquaintance? Are they someone who will bury me in trivialities and forwarded messages? Am I going to come in conflict with them if I say the sort of things I might say here?" And so I am quite the coward, and I keep my friends list pretty short; and there is much I do not talk about on Facebook.

The grace I give is thus stunted. I can argue with strangers at length, but to do so with friends consumes my spirit. I am a poor comforter, for I do not know what to say. And yet I do hope for the small grace that I do give. I hope that all the many words that I write here given people hope for their faith and their church, even among all my cries against the wrongs that I see there.

And so must we all hope, and work for a presence here which uplifts those who fall.

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